‘Creed III’ Composer Joseph Shirley Said Dr. Dre Inspired A “Unique Flavor” For Movie’s Music – Sound & Screen Film

‘Creed III’ Composer Joseph Shirley Said Dr. Dre Inspired A “Unique Flavor” For Movie’s Music – Sound & Screen Film

What does it take to create the sounds of a boxing champ? Turns out it requires a mighty force of trumpets, heavy percussion, and the fear of trying not to disappoint legendary music producer Dr. Dre, said Creed III composer Joseph Shirley, who joined Deadline’s Sound & Screen live music event to discuss the film.

Given that Creed III sees its leading man, Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed, try to make a home for himself and his family in Los Angeles, it only makes sense that West Coast rap icon Dr. Dre would not only be influential to the movie score but also be recruited as the film’s musical consultant.

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“One of the tricks of this score was how do we incorporate [hip-hop] songs to blend it into the landscape of the score,” Shirley said about his attribution to the Death Row Records co-founder. “The way that the movie opens, we begin with my own reproduction of one of his classic songs, ‘The Watcher,’ and that’s sort of a through line for the whole movie.”

Shirley also half-jokingly added that creating Adonis’ training montage in the film was the most fear-inducing moment in the studio. “That was one of the scariest moments of me working on the movie was reproducing a Dr. Dre beat, but then the [other] scariest thing was then I had to send it to Dr. Dre. He’s a producer, legendary genius, and here I am trying to replicate what he did, then I have to have his approval. It was crazy, but we managed to get it done.”

Following in the footsteps of Creed I and Creed II composer Ludwig Göransson, Shirley also spoke about what it was like working alongside Jordan, who also made his directorial debut for the film, to create the soundtrack.

Creed III just had its own unique flavor and quality from the way that it was shot, the way that Michael directed the actors, the way he performed, the feeling and the flow of the story. Some of the emotional landscape was much different, I think, than the first two movies. So, we wanted to give that a bit of its own unique flavor in music,” Shirley said. “And one of the ideas that Michael and I were working on was finding ways to have hip-hop production as a main staple piece of the gumbo of the score. So, there’s a ton of vocal shouts. You heard a lot of really edgy percussion there, and some of those sounds were even particularly made for the character of Damien (Jonathan Majors). His backstory found him in prison just watching Adonis growing in the limelight and everything. So, I actually sampled a prison cell to create some of these sounds.”

Check out the panel video above.

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