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Hussein Alidina
Hussein Alidina (left) - Photo by Chris Barry

Hip-hop artist explores schizophrenia

January 22, 2009

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I don’t know what happened to my soul
What happened to my life
I lived and lost control

All I hear is these voices in my head
Telling me I’m better dead
Slit my wrists
Time to end it now

From the song, Quiet Room by Hussein Alidina

The tune is haunting, the beat catchy, the topic unusual—schizophrenia. Quiet Room is a music video conceived, composed and produced by hip-hop artist and SFU student Hussein Alidina for a course project in the fall 2008 Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue.

The music video is on YouTube and Aldina’s website, http://www.a-slam.com/.

Based on the novel Quiet Room, A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness by Lori Schiller, the music video is Alidina’s way of encouraging people to read the book.

"I knew what schizophrenia was—the biology and symptoms—but I didn’t really understand what people living with schizophrenia go through. When I read the book, it totally blew me away. And I really wanted to share that."

The song is performed by Alidina, classmate Justin Goh, R&B singer Inez Jasper, and local rapper Amit Aujila. The cello is also performed by a classmate, Marian Pollack, and the rest of the instrumentation by a friend, DJ Exxquizit. The song and video have attracted interest from the B.C. Schizophrenia Society’s Reachout Psychosis program, which has asked Alidina to perform the song on tour.

"Hussein’s song is an excellent example of the way we try to focus student projects on real-world impact rather than just submitting material that only their professor will read," says Mark Winston, director of the Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue.

Each semester, the program develops an original and intensive learning process that uses dialogue to focus student education on public issues. The fall 2008 semester focused on health issues and ethics.

Alidina sums up his experience in the program as "wicked".

"A lot of people say it’s what university education should be," he adds. "Our class was about health, but in addition to that we gained presentations skills, conversation skills and public-writing skills."

A part-time political science undergrad, Alidina is also an established artist in the local hip-hop/fusion music world, with a song, Nakhre, playing on 93.1 RED FM radio and RJ1200 AM radio. In 2007, he won an international contest for best hip-hop/R&B song.

The Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue is now accepting applications for the summer (Exploring Food, Community and Urban Sustainability) and fall (Art in Community: Creating Cultures of Ingenuity and Innovation) 2009 semesters: www.sfu.ca/dialogue/undergrad.

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Linda G

The song is so sensitive, the music and singer's voice is haunting. A perfect set-up. They did an amazing job!. I watched the video 10 times in a row the first time I seen it!

Highly recommended, quality music! I think it's a classic which can outlast the fads!!

EV, WELL DONE!

SeaSea*.

Great work on all, great beat along with some realmeaningful lyrics. keep it up Ev, exx ;).

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