Video: MBNel – “Toxic” ft. Haben
Stockton’s MBNel Connects with Rising Singer Haben to Dramatize a “Toxic” Relationship in Their New Video
“Toxic” Arrives Ahead of Nel’s New EP Started In The South, Coming Soon via Muddy Boyz/EMPIRE
“He just has this way of telling his truthful, eye-opening story in such a manner that is not only compelling but it’s told in such a way that it’s like he’s reliving every moment as he makes his way throughout each narrative. Not only this, but he is able to incorporate some of that trademark West Coast bounce into his music so that way it doesn’t sound like he’s just preaching to you, as it sounds with so many other artists in the industry.” – Lyrical Lemonade
“MBNel wasn’t built to lose.” – XXL
The The Song + Video:
Equally adept at serving snapping rhymes as heartfelt melodies, NorCal native MBNel is a man of many talents. Flexing his pipes and his pen, Nel shares “Toxic,” his new video single. Blessed with an acoustic guitar-laden beat from Berki (known for his work with Rod Wave and Toosii), “Toxic” is a duet with rising singer Haben, whose breathy vocals and virtuosic melismas jibe with Nel’s pure tone and plaintive, faster-paced delivery. Nel is a deeply personal songwriter, using his songs like journal entries, and that personal touch adds gravitas to Nel’s pleading–the object of his intentions is stuck with an uncaring boyfriend, and Nel tries desperately to help her see: “You done f*cked up in the past, now you’re trusting the trash/Everything he say you don’t believe it/You try to run from the past, and he make you insecure/But, you got the right to be conceited.” On her verse, Haben sings from the perspective of a woman trapped, her delivery reflecting the pain and exasperation of the lyrics: “Feel like we holdin’ each other hostage/Why I gotta pretend when I’m being honest?”
The new video, directed by Mike Wild$, paints a vivid portrait of the relationship described in the song–Nel acts as the omniscient narrator as a troubled couple work through their union’s dissolution. Floating in on a sea breeze, Haben sings from the woman’s perspective as she attempts to escape . “Toxic” follows in the wake of “Fadeaway,” a piano-led ballad dedicated to the memory of a fan who recently passed away.
“Toxic” is on track to appear on Started In The South, the Stockton, CA native’s next EP. Arriving during a period of sustained growth from Nel, the new EP finds him reflecting on his success and paying homage to the streets that raised him. The “south” in the EP’s title refers to its position at the bottom of the map–Nel started at the bottom, but he’s quickly emerging from his circumstances off the strength of his authentic anthems. Spanning 4 songs and featuring an appearance from Bleu, Started In The South is coming soon via Muddy Boyz/EMPIRE.
Born and raised in Stockton, a city in Central Cali with a busy rap scene, MBNel built a reputation on the West Coast for his combination of hummable melodies and relatable trench tales. The 25-year-old artist has a loyal following who respond to his naked authenticity, a quality on display on his 2021 project No Hard Feelings. In the wake of last year’s success, Nel is challenging himself artistically, pushing the boundaries of his sound as he continues to express his truth.
Stay tuned for more from MBNel.
Watch “Toxic” ft. Haben: https://youtu.be/X8TR0cTn6Vs
Stream “Toxic” ft. Haben: https://music.empi.re/toxic
“I’m not afraid to delve deeper than what’s on the surface,” explains MBNel. “I make music like a journal.” From South Stockton’s 8th Street, Nel’s accounts of life can be grim. He achieved millions of streams through rapping about navigating the codes of the streets in the Northern California city, his Filipino-American upbringing, and trying to make a way through music. However, the 25-year-old is challenging himself and his sound. Songs like the 2021’s “Opulent,” “Shooting Stars,” and “Manifested” have been close to the heart while demonstrating depth and range that transcends rap music. Those three tracks—each at 2 million streams or better—have showcased Nel’s melodic delivery, honest songwriting, and ability to uplift audiences around the globe. “I’ve been experimenting with a whole bunch of different sounds,” he shares as he continues to amplify and expand a self-made career with a series of dynamic singles in the upcoming months.
“Toxic” ft. Haben: https://youtu.be/X8TR0cTn6Vs
“As You Should”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR5hKjTVsxs
“Shooting Stars”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz4WbJoHpRA
No Hard Feelings: https://music.empi.re/nohardfeelings