Mike Tyson’s had his share of celebrity scandals over the years, however, not everyone knows he once praised an infamous fascist dictator. Tyson once praised Benito Mussolini, comparing aspects of his mannerisms to hip-hop culture. Oddly enough, Tyson revealed he drew inspiration from Mussolini for a song he collaborated on with Madonna.
Mike Tyson on why Benito Mussolini was ‘mesmerizing’
According to Rolling Stone, it all started when Madonna wanted to work with Tyson. “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.” Tyson came into the studio to see Madonna and her producer. He rapped over a track called “Iconic,” talking about his life. Tyson said he felt like his music career could actually take off because he worked with Madonna. Considering “Iconic” was released in 2015 and Tyson hasn’t had any hits since then, his feelings proved incorrect — at least so far.
Tyson revealed he drew inspiration from a surprising — and upsetting — source. “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,” he said. “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.”
Tyson went on to praise Mussolini — the man responsible for the death of democracy in Italy and a close collaborator with Adolf Hitler — even more. “I know people may say ‘this guy’s a fascist’ and all this stuff, but man, you can take positivity from watching him,” added Tyson. “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.”
What the collaboration between Madonna, Mike Tyson, and Chance the Rapper is like
The final song is a collaboration between Madonna, Tyson, and Chance the Rapper. According to XXL, Madonna wanted Jay-Z on the track instead of Chance the Rapper but Jay-Z felt someone less established should be on the song instead. For the most part, it’s a celebration of the concept of being an icon. Considering everybody on the track is an icon, the track seems self-aware. However, there’s nothing directly about Mussolini in its lyrics. If it weren’t for Tyson’s comments, no one would connect “Iconic” to Italian fascism.
How the world reacted to ‘Iconic’
So did this bizarre and unnerving combination of Mussolini, Tyson, Chance the Rapper, and the Queen of Pop resonate with audiences? “Iconic” did not chart at all on the Billboard Hot 100. Considering Madonna has charted so many songs she’s called “the Queen of Pop,” that’s saying something. Apparently, people don’t like fascism in their dance music.
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