Hours before DJ-ing in front of a 15 000-strong Rocking the Daisies crowd, hip hop icon Grandmaster Flash chopped it up with Helen Herimbi, but they only scratched the surface…

They’re standing on the hotel’s balcony and it seems like they’re skinnering.

But in reality, Grandmaster Flash and his assistant are going through questions that the American hip hop legend is willing to answer from the plethora of journalists who clamoured to get a slot in his schedule.

Courtesy of Red Bull Mobile, the American legend was to make a stop in Durban first, Johannesburg last and Rocking the Daisies near Cape Town in between.

They come back into the conference room and the man who was born Joseph Saddler and went on to birth generations of turntablists asks to use my pen.

As if reading my mind, Flash explains, “I’m not a rapper, honey, I don’t answer questions about rapping. I’m a DJ and no matter where I am in the world, using only the music, I have to figure out how I’m…” he points to his T-shirt with his name on it then to me… “going to make love to you without even saying hi.”

I make a mental note to scratch questions four and 13.

When we finally get to sit down, the man who played the role of DJ in Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five smiles about missing “my 13-year-old who drives me totally crazy, and she gets me mad with some of the weird things she does, but I miss her so much. For the most part though, I’m good.”

Question four rears its pretty rap-laden head and I wince, hoping he’s not going to spaz like Lil Wayne on an inquisitive journo.

What were his thoughts on hearing Blondie’s Rapture, the first video to contain a “rap” aired on MTV, which included the line: “Flash is fast, Flash is cool”, which was a homage to him.

“Oh, yeah,” he stirs his tea, “I can answer that. There was a gentleman by the name of Fab Five Freddy who is very popular in hip hop. At this time we weren’t really touring, we were playing [The Bronx and Manhattan] gymnasiums, sort of just building our craft. Freddy said, ‘I’m downtown quite a bit and I see a lot of the pop stars, I’m gonna bring Blondie’ and I was like ‘yeah right!’”

“I’ll never forget, I was DJ-ing and I’d seen this blonde-headed person coming through the crowd so I thought Freddy’s got a hot white chick with him. But as she’s getting closer I was like, that’s….”

“She said ‘Hi, I’m Blondie and I’ve been watching you for the last 15 or 20 minutes and you’re amazing with the way that you do your thing on the turntables, you’re so fast. My next song, I’m going to write a line [about it].’ But she kept her word. That one line in that song allowed me to do things in white clubs, mixed clubs and catapulted my DJ career.”

Of course, what really cemented Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in the annals of history is The Message, a 1982 socially conscious song that spawned an album of the same title.

While he didn’t celebrate the 30-year anniversary of this seminal song, Flash says, “As far as being a DJ is concerned, I’m the type of person who always pushes the envelope. The song was a great song and it’s amazing that it’s stood the test of time. You have good songs, then you have good songs that just refuse to die and The Message is one of those songs that stands up and I think it’s quite wonderful.”

He lights back up when I quiz him about the music he’s heard since being in Mzansi. “What’s it called, ‘kwaa-e-too? kwaa-ee-too?’” he asks, lifting his signature hat, a black cap with a white G emblazoned on it.

I help him with the pronunciation of kwaito but he’s so excited to tell me about it he doesn’t pay much attention to that.

“I heard this sound the first time since I’ve been in South Africa,” his eyes are as wide as a child’s looking at candy. “I’m really into the new electronic sound right now so I look at kwaito as the electronic dance sound with sexy, warm rhythms on top of it.

So it’s the boom-boom-boom but what holds the boom down are these incredibly sexy rhythms. I find it quite amazing. I’m actually looking to do some collaborations with some artists while here.”

These collaborations, with sounds from Asia, Europe and the US will form a part of an album due for release in 2013. His message is simple: create a harmony between songs of different genres.