Former boxer and up-and-coming popstar Mike Tyson has spoken about his unlikely collaboration with Madonna and how Italian dictator and executed war criminal Benito Mussolini inspired his “Iconic” performance (because of course.)
The release of Madonna’s ‘Rebel Heart’ has easily been one of the strangest album campaigns in pop-music history. From the acts of ‘artistic ****’ and ‘terrorism’ that resulted in the entire record leaking months before it had a title or release date, to endless bathroom selfies and the terrible decisions that led to lashes superimposed across Nelson Mandela’s face (still can’t).
The Material Girl has done it again and proven that when it comes to whipping up controversy, none of these young girls are even on her level.
However, no decision was stranger than featuring boxer Mike Tyson alongside Chance the Rapper on album track “Iconic”. Naturally, all we’ve been wondering since the tracklist was revealed is how Madonna and Tyson would even end up in the same room together.
Interested to hear how it all went down?
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Mike had this to say about what happens when M calls:
Madonna calls you and tells you to come somewhere, you go. I didn’t know what the hell I was going there for. I’m just there having a good time and hanging out with Madonna. She has her producer there and I go into the studio and I didn’t know if she wanted me to talk or rap. I just go in there and start talking. I’m talking about my life and things that I have endured. I’m saying some really crazy stuff. It was really intense.
You’ll be surprised (I hope) to hear who inspired Mike’s ad-libbed performance:
“When I did it, I think about being some guy like Mussolini and they’re really arrogant, but you try to come from a positive perspective and be uplifting. You watch Mussolini on television — even though we don’t understand what he’s saying — he is so mesmerizing. I look at myself in that way.
And if you were thinking it couldn’t get more ludicrous, you’d be wrong:
I know people may say ‘this guy’s a fascist’ and all this stuff, but man, you can take positivity from watching him. No wonder why Hitler was attracted to him.
Let’s all let that sink in for a moment. “No wonder why Hitler was attracted to him.”
To be frank, there seems to be absolutely no ill-intent behind Tyson’s totally baffling comparison between himself and a man reportedly personally responsible for more than 300,000 deaths, but we can all agree that it’s a very strange thing to say. Honestly, the whole thing fits in nicely with the complete, unfiltered insanity that is ‘Rebel Heart’ – an album characterised by a juxtaposition between chaos, leaks and controversy and some of the best music Madonna’s released in over a decade.
Will Mike Tyson and his very best Mussolini impression be outshone by M’s performance on “Iconic”? Actually it’s unlikely, as one of the less… well, iconic tracks to leak from the project. In demo form, it’s not a bad song at all, but it definitely needs something to beef it up. Perhaps Tyson’s own brand of dictator-chic can do just that.
Check out the rest of the interview here to find out how Madonna and Tyson met, but I’ll leave you with this gem.
Mike on following his rebel heart into music:
“Doing the song with Madonna makes me think this [music career] could really happen… Most guys that come in there drink a bunch of liquor or smoke 100 blunts. I just went in and boom, one take. Everyone thought it was cool.”
Are YOU ready for Mike Tyson’s album?