Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Mike Tyson was the world’s undisputed heavyweight champion. He was one of the greatest boxers of his era and was winning all his fights with quality knockouts. However, that didn’t stop Queens rapper LL Cool J from getting into a feud with the brawny boxer. Luckily for Cool J, it became a rap feud rather than a boxing match.
During the ’90s, Tyson was delivering consecutive knockouts, and even after his prison stint upon his return in 1995 to fight Peter McNeeley, the event was fully packed. Tyson quickly became a superstar and a face synonymous with winning. The boxer got endorsements left, right and centre and invitations to many things, including music videos.
According to the online music publication All Hip Hop, Tyson was friends with almost every respected rapper industry during the ’90s, with LL Cool J no exception. At first, Tyson and the rapper (real name James Smith) were good friends, but they quickly grew apart. As Tyson and Smith grew apart, the artist found himself in a feud with a rapper named Canibus. However, it was not related to Tyson and was over a simple tattoo.
In his song ‘4, 3, 2, 1′, LL Cool J goaded Canibus about his tattoo, according to All Hip Hop. Canibus responded by releasing a diss track that mocked LL Cool J and then leaked a recording of Cool J saying that he was “fearful of an all-out battle.”
While this was all part and parcel of any standard rap feud, what came next was absurd to Smith. Canibus, wanting to really put a nail in the coffin for J, decided to release another diss track called ‘2nd Round KO.’ However, the music video for the track starred Mike Tyson. Moreover, Tyson even had a few lines in the song.
Off the back of this diss track, Canibus released his debut album in 1998. However, it was received exceptionally poorly by critics and fans alike. Seeing this as the perfect time to strike, LL dropped a track entitled The Ripper Strikes Back’, which is a reference to Cool J’s other nickname, Jack the Ripper. However, the rapper did not only address Canibus, but he also dissed Tyson.
Most of what the rapper said about Tyson was based on his prior charges and public prison stint. However, the bars clearly insinuated Tyson was a rapist. With it, the feud with Canibus came to a slow halt. Over the years, LL Cool J and Mike Tyson have reconnected and are now back as friends and On Tyson’s podcast, Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, Tyson talked with LL for about two hours about almost every topic you can think of.
You can watch LL Cool J and Mike Tyson talk it out in the video below.