Early last week, Grammy Award-winning singer Madonna released the tracklist for her upcoming album, Rebel Heart.
Nas, Nicki Minaj and Chance The Rapper are scheduled to feature on the project, but one of the more peculiar guest appearances is former boxing heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson.
The boxer-turned-actor, who appears on the record “Iconic” with Madonna and Chance The Rapper, recently spoke with Rolling Stone to discuss how the song came about and his inspiration for the cut.
“Madonna calls you and tells you to come somewhere, you go,” Tyson says. “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.”
Tyson — who says his part of the song, which he ad-libbed, was done in one take — also spoke about the historical Italian politician to whom he drew inspiration from while making the record.
“When I did it, I think about being some guy like [Benito] 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.
“I know people may say ‘this guy’s a fascist’ and all this stuff, but man, you can take positivity from watching him,” Tyson adds. “No wonder why Hitler was attracted to him. This guy’s a hypnotic figure. There’s so much pride behind what he’s saying. I’m not even Italian and I feel the pride he’s projecting. He had that street swag; he was doing this stuff with his hands and moving his head before it was even hip-hop.”
Elsewhere, Tyson spoke on his musical aspirations, following the record.
“Doing the song with Madonna makes me think this [music career] could really happen,” Tyson says. “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.”