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Bloody Civilian Creatively Expresses Her Rage on “Anger Management” EP

Bloody Civilian Creatively Expresses Her Rage on “Anger Management” EP

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If Anger Management EP is anything to go by, the sky is the limit for Bloody Civilian…

By Yinoluwa Olowofoyeku

DefJam Recordings’ artiste, Bloody Civilian’s meteoric rise to prominence has been bookmarked with the release of her debut EP, Anger Management.

25-year-old Emoseh Angela Khamofu is the daughter of a civil engineer who toured as a bass guitarist with his band on the weekends. This influence meant that Khamofu’s childhood was rife with music, exposing her to instrumental jazz, blues, and various other African genres from a young age. By the age of 8, she was already writing out her own lyrics to perform to her parents and church, and by 12, she was making a reputation for herself by performing in talent shows and starting down the pathway of music production. Gradually, the Abuja native would hone her musical skills, developing first as a producer, before pivoting to a career as a recording artist. She adopted the moniker, “Bloody Civilian,” as a reclamation of the often-derogatory term typically aimed at Nigerian citizens by abusive members of the military around her.

This moniker was unveiled to the world in 2022 when her debut single, “How To Kill a Man” was released (followed by a self-directed music video later that year). Again, in 2022, her name was in the limelight as a collaboration with Afropop superstar, Rema, titled “Wake Up” was selected for the soundtrack of the global blockbuster hit superhero movie, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” As such, it seems like her stock has written really quickly. Anger Management is the linchpin of Bloody Civilian’s ascent.

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The EP gets underway with the bombastic synth opening of “Escapism.” The lyrics lament over a missed opportunity to indulge in drug, while espousing all the conditions and situations that one would want to escape from, singing “My country give me nothing, And economy is falling.” The lyrics are sweetly sung with group vocals and upbeat dance melodies over an energetic Amapiano-influenced Electronic Dance instrumental, combining rolling log drums with electronic keys, dancing synths, and sweeping transition effects.

Next is the launchpad song, “How To Kill a Man,” one Bloody Civilian says is an expression of her anger concerning the realities of life as a woman in Nigeria. Over a bouncy Afrobeats instrumental defined by a pulsing bassline, percussion-heavy drums, and subtle organs, Bloody Civilian sings lyrics like, “And if that man start to shout, mhm, Omo na to slap am oh, And take him to the backyard oh, And give him with the dagger oh, yeah” with a confident, defiant edge to her voice.

“Family Meeting” is a song that weaves a narrative surrounding a titular family meeting, with Bloody Civilian expressing disdain for a particularly overbearing aunty, a sentiment many can relate with. “Aunty no wan go house? Aunty sit down for couch, And she talk say I no go church, Aunty please go home,” she thinks over an instrumental mostly made up of filtered guitar riffs. That is, until the song explodes with vibrant live-sounding Afrobeat drums on the chorus. Her frustrations are redirected towards her boyfriend in the second verse with deliveries that come across as convincingly fed up.

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Bloody Civilian

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“Mad Apology” is  thematically less frustration-based, as Bloody Civilian dismisses  a lover who has messed up, singing “Nigga stop you can put your feet up, No dey call we will never meet up, I gave you everything you had to fuck up.” Over a fast-paced, energetic instrumental composed of soft pads, driving drums, and booming 808 basses, Bloody Civilian employs a host of melodic templates, switching from falsetto runs to sweetly-sung choppy melodies. The song ends with a fun vocal chop that speeds up and bleeds right into the next song.

“I Don’t Like You” is another song bristling with frustrated, dismissive energy as Bloody Civilian makes it clear how she feels about the person in question, singing “I don’t fucking like you, You can’t come again, I don’t fucking send you” over a mid-tempo House-influenced Afrobeat instrumental, combining rattling shakers and talking drum trills with square bass synths, sparse pad chords, and prominent vocal chops.

The EP ends with “Come From,” a lively Afroswing entry that sees Bloody Civilian adopt a pseudo-rapped delivery over rumbling 808s, deep basses, wiry synth lines and key stabs. With very simple melodies, she speaks on some of the perils of her home environment, not so much frustrated-sounding, but in a manner that simply lays bare the facts. The boisterous backing vocals give the song a real communal feel as she rounds the EP off.

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Anger Management is such a fitting title for this EP. Bloody Civilian clearly draws on personal experiences and frustrations to put this EP together, narrating tales (real or otherwise) that clearly convey genuine lived-in emotions. Her lyricism is the greatest vessel of those emotions as she combines short and simple, easily-digestible lyrical lines, to create poignant, relatable scenarios. The clarity of these scenarios and the emotions elicited therein is the primary driving force behind the cohesive theme running through Anger Management. As such, each song plays its part in the narrative of the whole, dwelling on a segment of life and the troubles it contains.

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The production is all courtesy of Bloody Civilian herself, simultaneously demonstrating her multi-talented nature and providing the project with a singular sonic creative focus. While the instrumentals are not anything too ornate or intricate in themselves, they are custom built for the work Bloody Civilian intends to do atop them. They are generally melodically sparse and spacious, with the drums providing majority of the compositions. These provide a strong rhythmic base to back her straightforward deliveries. There are a number of thoughtful transitions and interesting modulations to be found, but the production is generally modelled as a supporting element for her singing. This singing is very clear and smooth, but bar a few falsetto passes and colourful runs, her singing prowess isn’t really put on display. The melodies she employs are typically pretty uncomplicated, allowing the focus to rest on the lyrics and even enabling them to stick as catchy earworms.

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All things considered, Anger Management EP is an impressive debut project for such a newcomer. The project exudes a significant amount of experience, polish, and focus that isn’t common to many debuts. I think it will serve as a key point in the story that Bloody Civilian is writing; a story I hope continues along this trajectory because if Anger Management EP is anything to go by, the sky is the limit for Bloody Civilian.

Lyricism – 1.7

Tracklisting – 1.8

Sound Engineering – 1.5

Vocalisation – 1.5

Listening Experience – 1.5

Rating – 8/10

Yinoluwa “Yinoluu” Olowofoyeku is a multi-disciplinary artist and creative who finds expression in various media.

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