Matt Arab is a Canadian rap/hip-hop artist who began his career at a young age as an MC in the underground rap battle scene. While working with local artists he put together the hip-hop act Fax4 in which he befriends the Halifax hometown rap hero, Classified. At a young age he took on the stage as Quake Matthews and has been applauded for being a natural performer during both his live shows and freestyle battles. As a skilled lyricist he is able to paint vivid portraits of real-life experiences. This is an art that has been lost in the industry, but has been picked up again by Quake’s passionate flow and raw emotion. Quake’s hard work and dedication to his art has lead him to many nominations and awards such as Hip-Hop Recording, Album of the Year and Video of the Year, as well as his recent #4 spot on the iTunes Hip Hop Charts for his fourth studio album Rap Music.
Following the success of Rap Music, which features artists such as Neon Dreams, JRDN, Ria Mae and Dylan Guthro, Quake has released his newest single, “Just Another Love Story”. The single, produced by Classified, features Nova Scotia’s emerging artist Reeny Smith. Her outstanding vocals appear in the chorus and shadows a few lines with Quake throughout as he shares a love story in a whole different perspective: a relationship with alcohol.
The track opens with smooth piano keys to take your mind along with Quake as he remembers the first time he interacts with alcohol. In the background you can sense a party atmosphere as you hear a mixture of voices chanting “Chug, chug, chug!” Within the first fifteen seconds, Quake has already painted a blur-like memory of your first basement-type house party, possibly at a young age.
Quake story-tells a general depiction of a love story: the two lovers meet, they are good for each other, and they support one another. After the “honeymoon phase”, most love stories end because they were too good for each other, and the love and support for one another was depended and relied on in a toxic, unhealthy matter. Quake takes us on this journey with lyrics such as, “you were touching my lips, I turned red, I could feel the fire in my chest”, “you were the one that brought me out of my shell”, and “you were the one that made me happy in life”. We can most definitely relate to these declarations in some form, whether it’s towards a person or something we love or once loved.
From the vivid, memory-infused words of Just Another Love Story, we can feel the relationship reaching its turning point when he praises how alcohol is half the reason for any of the happiness he has felt and fades into the words “but”. Now we all know nothing good ever comes out when a sentence ends in but. He then goes on to say “started losing my ways/ depending on you too much/ feels like we’re losing our trust”. Quake describes how he is the one to blame, as he masked the pain and bottled it up by being intoxicated. He writes that the relationship was not what it was. His Saturday nights at the club were all fun and games until he started fighting with the bouncers which resulted in his loved ones wanting to stay away from the unhealthy mixture of himself and the liquid.
And like all good things we have discovered and come to love, Quake closes the song with “I could never say goodbye for good/ it’s just another love story” before he admits he depended on drinks too much.
Just Another Love Story was released on February 14, 2017 along with the music video directed by Mark Sawatzky. Quake shows us situations in which he depends on alcohol over the years by labelling different bottles with words such as “create, inspire, break free, and destroy”.
Take a look below and read up on a letter written to himself (from alcohol) to further gain perspective on this type of addiction and to connect with Quake:
An open letter to Quake from Alcohol
Dear 15-year-old Quake,
I know we have yet to meet, but starting tonight, we are going to become extremely close over the next decade. Do not throw this away MATTHEW, you need to read this… I’m writing you because I need you take heed to this moment of honesty I’m about to express. Some of this will be painful, but no matter what – stay with me in this letter. I’m positive you’ll thank me later.
I know you’re an anxious kid. Even though there are times that you feel like an outcast, you have to remember that nobody’s perfect but some people are just better at projecting a false reality.
Tonight, we’ll meet at Jer’s birthday party and I promise you it’s going to be one of the best times of your entire life.
What if I told you that your confidence level will be through the roof, your grin will seem as though it’s permanent, and you will even work up the courage to hit on the girl you’ve been admiring from afar at school over the past few weeks? I know what your thinking, but you can thank in me in the morning… that’s if you still want to.
Remember when I told you to take heed to my honesty? Well, this is the part where that comes in. You must’ve heard the cliche “What goes up, must come down”? Tomorrow morning, you’ll be granted a first hand understanding of the second half of that proverb. FYI, when you press your forehead against the cold tiles of the bathroom floor, it tends to relieve the nausea, to a certain extent.
As your passion for music begins transforming from a hobby into a career, we will be seeing a lot more of each other. As your concert crowds begin to snowball, so will your on-stage anxiety. It will get to the point where you begin calling on me to help you get through performances. Eventually, a time will come that you won’t be able to step foot on the stage without me as your back-up singer.
The more you use me, the more comfortable you will feel and even though I may give off the vibe that I enjoy being used, I’ll be seeking payback in ways you least expect. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I have it out for you, but I’m no push-over either. Let’s start with the good times…
We’ll eventually travel the world together and make incredible memories. We’ll reconnect while boating through canals in Amsterdam and driving through the Hollywood hills in roofless coupes. I’ll be with you while we’re rubbing elbows with a countless number of your childhood heroes and sealing the deal with girls who you thought were way out of your league. It sounds great, right? Just don’t forget about the aforementioned payback because inevitably, I’m coming for it.
See, there’s going to be times where I make you feel like Jesus himself, but in those moments you will fail to realize the outside perception of what’s really going on. For example, there will be times that you swear that you’re on stage performing like Jay-Z, when in actuality, you’re slurring your words and embarrassing yourself with aimless off-colour banter in between songs. You are undoubtably going to wake up filled with shame and regret when you watch the videos of yourself performing, so please, try to go easy on yourself.
As you grow and become more self aware from previous experience, you will knowingly repeat these same mistakes while lacking the self control to prevent them. Trust me, this is going to fuel a fire inside of you that will begin to extinguish your burning desire to succeed. Imagine rehearsing all week to perform in front of 2000 people, then forgetting the words to one of your own songs. I know it sounds devastating, but its going to be a reality.
The more you let yourself down, the more enraged you will become and the more you will put the blame on other people. It will even get to a point where you find yourself in the midst of physical altercations with club bouncers, show promoters, and even close friends that stem from your temper and of course, me. Eventually, word will spread and important figures in the music community will be skeptical about working with you. Remember, the more you’re painted with a dirty brush, the harder it becomes to rinse yourself clean.
With all that being said, my goal isn’t to scare you, it will get better. You will eventually find your place and become more focused then you’ve ever been. You’ll reach accomplishments in your career that felt beyond your grasp at the beginning of this ride together. That brings me to the present day. I heard the song you wrote about me and plan on releasing February 14, 2017. I’m glad we’ve finally reached a point where we truly have a conversation and develop a complete understanding of one another. This isn’t good-bye. I’ll always be here for you, waiting, at the bottom of the bottle.
Happy Valentine’s Day 💜