"Let me tell you this again, I could have been one of the most notorious/I got saved by the king, and his grace is so gloriooooous." If you're a follower of dancehall, you couldn't have missed the rallying tones of Turbulence's inimitable "Notorious" single. Voiced on the Scallawah riddim–a fresh hip-hop tinged b-line with a penetrating electric guitar riff from new Jamaican collective THC Muzik–Turbulence's militantly righteous singing/deejaying makes this a street anthem for rastas, big men, and rude bwoys alike.
The track's hard-hitting video narrative depicts Turbulence and his Higher Trod backing crew preparing to bury alive an enemy when they unearth a Kebra Negast African Bible, which causes them to rethink their actions. Of the video Turbulence says, "When you're moving through the ghetto every day you get tough. It's easy to get caught up. We show the youths no matter who disrespect you, Jah is the only judgement."
Although it was the rawness of "Notorious" that catapulted Turbulence to top status, he varies his style from gruff deejaying to melodic singing. For example, his latest album on VP Records, Songs Of Solomon, is a classic culture album. "The most important thing in life is love," confesses Turbulence. "Songs of Solomon educates with no bigotry or racism, just unification, upliftment, and reality."
Born Sheldon Campbell in Hungry Town, Kingston, Jamaica, the 25-year-old has been a music man since his school days. "It's my calling," he says of the artform. Like most up-and-coming artists Turbulence struggled to get his first break–his skills as a deejay and singer confused the island's producers. Eventually Phillip Fattis Burrell, production don of Exterminator Records, spotted his potential and the two have worked together since, with Burrell producing two albums, Hail To The King and Rising.
Turbulence is different from the current school of popular culture artists: Ritchie Spice, I-Wayne, Jah Cure, and previously reigning Boboshanti-dread dancehall artists like Capleton and Sizzla. He is righteous but streetwise, earthy but cool. He cruises around Kingston with his Higher Trod crew all on motorbikes. He wears a tam and Africa pendant with coordinating brand-name streetwear. For his debut UK performance supporting Sizzla, he wore a shirt and patterned necktie with army fatigues. And now his music reflects his hybrid sartorial style, as well as his huge potential for crossing over into an MTV-obsessed urban fan base.
Of this comparison Turbulence laughs. "Yes, me always like to mix it up," he says. "My original name was Double Trouble–come two-styles. It was an elderly ras that named me Turbulence–disturbing to Babylon, electrifyingly strong. I'm rasta but I love de street vibes. I want to see myself on BET, MTV. Some artists burn them but that's where I see myself, for real."