Kurupt FM is the (fake) pirate radio station capturing the nation’s hearts. Now they’re releasing a (real) mixtape they found in an Umbro bag. Amy Smith meets them. Photography
Chabuddy G is standing in Time Out’s reception with one cowboy boot up on the desk. He adjusts his tinted sunglasses, smooths down his leopard print shirt and starts thrusting his hips towards a globe held, spinning, at crotch level. It is, quite simply, the most erotic thing that has ever happened at Time Out. And, more importantly, it’s a symbol for what’s happened to Kurupt FM in the last few years. ‘I’m fucking the world,’ says Chabuddy and he’s not wrong. The lads from Brentford’s most famous fictional pirate radio station truly are fucking the world right now. To some metaphorical slow jams.
Chabuddy G, DJ Beats, MC Grindah and DJ Steves have come a long way since they started broadcasting from Steves’s nan’s house back in 2001. Not physically – her house is still Kurupt HQ – but Chabuddy now gets two-for-one cocktails at his local Yates’s and the boys are about to release ‘The Lost Tape’. It’s a mixtape of grime, garage and Kurupt originals that they recorded back in the day and recently rediscovered in an Umbro bag at Beats’s mum’s house. Today, though, they’re taking over Time Out, and it’s fucking chaos. During the five hours the boys have been in our headquarters they’ve broken into the CEO’s office (please don’t fire me) and Facetimed our sales team’s mates. They infect everything with their own manic logic: pretty good for characters from a fictional reality TV show (‘People Just Do Nothing’, now in its fourth series on BBC Three). But what else would you expect? Kurupt FM has grown into a phenomenon with such real-world impact that it even helped to relaunch the career of Craig David. This is their Time Out takeover…
Hey Chabuds, what’s your role in Kurupt FM?
‘I’m basically the music mogul, like P Diddy, Simon Cowell and the geezer who did the Spice Girls. They’re very Illuminati as well, I’m trying to get into the Illuminati, actually.’
How have you tried to contact them?
‘I’ve tried googling “Illuminati”. I don’t know how Jay Z did it. I’ve sent faxes, paged them.’
Would you say Kurupt FM has put Brentford on the map?
‘Definitely. We are the Brentford Beatles!’
Which member of The Beatles are you most like?
‘I would be Ringo. He had the girthy ’tache and drum players are always quite big geezers with big hips.’
Ringo had a unique voice, just like you.
‘Some people are sopranos, some people are vibrato but I’m a thigh-brato: when I sing I make women’s thighs vibrate.’
As a famous Lothario, what’s the most romantic thing you’ve done?
‘The most romantic thing I bought my ex-wife Aldona was a bouquet of flowers but inside them was a doner kebab.’
An Al-dona kebab?
‘Yes! And I added the garlic sauce later, if you know what I mean.’
Do you think fame has changed you?
‘I went into the Yates’s in Hounslow the other day and I got buy-one-get-one-free on cocktails: that’s privilege. I’m not gonna lie, there’s also a lot of white people around me now; my life has become gentrified.’
But do you still know how much a pint of milk costs?
‘I still sell pints of milk. When the bossman, Mr Patel, gets rid of the old milk, I take it, add a bit of water and resell it.’
Grindah, tell us about your role at Kurupt FM?
‘I’m world leader, CEO, head MC and general sort of general.’
When did garage music enter your life?
‘It started hitting me early on. We used to link up in my mum’s yard and make tapes, pass them around school for 50p and that. If you couldn’t find a tape you’d just get your mum’s Celine Dion one and record over it.’
Would you say Kurupt FM is better than The Beatles?
‘That’s not hard is it? No one plays instruments any more, mate!’
Which member of The Beatles are you most like?
‘Describe the members. I don’t know fuck-all about them. Who was the main guy?’
That would probably be John Lennon.
‘Well that’s me, I’m Lenny. And I smoke lemon, lemon haze, not actual lemons. Create a little warning there: kids, smoke real drugs, not fruit.’
And that would make Beats the Paul McCartney, right? You guys have the classic bromance!
‘I see him as my little son or daughter.’
Your manager Chabuddy G has described ‘The Lost Tape’ as ‘legendary’. Do you agree?
‘Have you heard of Noah’s Ark? The animals came out two by two. Well it’s similar. Two tigers come out in the rave, survive a flood, come out screaming lyrics… Who were they? Beats and Grindah. What was their tape? The lost one.’
Now that you are famous, how do you stay grounded?
‘I’ve always known how to deal with fame because I’ve always been famous in my own head. When you know you are better than everyone else, you are naturally humble.’
Hey Beats, what’s your role in Kurupt FM?
‘Assistant to the CEO. I do all the stuff Grindah doesn’t want to do. Also, best DJ at the station.’
How did Kurupt FM begin?
‘It was a magical moment. My uncle gave me some decks and Grindah decided just at that time he wanted to be my mate. It was when decks first came out, around ’01.’
Has fame ever put a strain on the bromance between you and Grindah?
‘I have to hold his drink a bit more, that’s about it, really. But when you’re in a crowded rave, holding a drink, you can spill it and then I have to buy him a new one and that takes ages. It’s tough love.’
If Grindah says he is God, what does that make you?
‘I’m more of a Friar Tuck type, he was sick in that film. Actually, I’m more like Robin Hood: he’s like Jesus but better.’
The last season ended with Kurupt FM getting raided. How is the group’s future looking?
‘It’s looking a bit bleak. Radio is off air at the moment. We’re still using Steves’s nan’s flat as a clubhouse, getting inspired, just playing stuff off my phone and blazing, really.’
Is there a classic Beats move with the ladies?
‘Well, I call Roché probably around 30 times a day, asking, “Where are you and who are you with?” It shows that I care because that’s what all girls want. That’s true love.’
Got any romantic advice?
‘If you’re trying to crack on with a guy wearing a hat, rule one: do not take his fucking hat off. I look like Hitler with my hat off.’
What’s your role in Kurupt FM?
‘I’m DJ Steves, the clue is in the name, DJ. Also Kurupt FM cleaner.’
Were you talent-spotted for Kurupt?
‘Nah, they wanted to broadcast out of my nan’s flat and said I could DJ if I let them come in and take over. And then my nan was fuming about the noise so she moved out into an old people’s home and then we carried on. Kurupt FM was born.’
What’s the longest DJ set you’ve ever played?
‘Pretty sure I’ve done a full day, the music sometimes takes over. Plus there’s this drug called speed, which sometimes takes over as well.’
Is it hard to walk around Brentford without getting harassed by fans?
‘Yeah, people just go “Where’s Grindah?” And I’m like “Dunno, mate” because I literally don’t know where they are at all times.’
Let’s talk romance! We’ve never seen you in a relationship.
‘Well, I did have an intense experience with someone I met at a festival. I haven’t seen him since but there was definitely a deep spiritual connection, just dancing at each other shouting “This is fucking sick.” ’
In that case, what track would you throw on to get in the mood?
‘Probably have to say jungle classic “Chopper”. That’s the sound of pure endolphins, the love chemical.’
That’s why dolphins are so happy.
‘Exactly, I’ve never seen a dolphin that’s not happy. What would that even look like?’
‘The Lost Tape’ is out now.