Jonathan Majors is undoubtedly turning into one of the biggest stars of the year, in part to his excellent performance as Dame in Creed III. The latest film in the Rocky franchise emerged on Friday to critical and commercial praise. The film reached $100M at the box office in its opening weekend while many have applauded it as one of the best films in the Creed series. Needless to say, the all-star cast and Michael B. Jordan’s excellent directorial debut didn’t disappoint fans who waited years for the follow-up to Creed II.

Majors’s character, Golden Gloves champ Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson, is a childhood friend of Adonis who ends up serving 20 years in prison for a gun charge (largely due to Donnie’s attack on a man named Leon and subsequently running away). After Dame comes home, he gets Adonis’ help to return to the boxing ring. Majors’ portrayal of Dame proved why he’s a generational talent but apparently, he wouldn’t have been able to get into that space without Nipsey Hussle.

Nipsey Hussle’s Influence On Jonathan Majors

LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 23: Nipsey Hussle performs onstage at the STAPLES Center Concert Sponsored by SPRITE during the 2018 BET Experience on June 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ser Baffo/Getty Images for BET)

Throughout the movie, Dame uses Nipsey Hussle’s music to enter the ring, largely songs off of Victory Lap. During an interview with Looper, Jonathan Majors explained that Nipsey’s music helped him tap into Dame’s mind. “I listened to a lot of Tupac, Nipsey Hussle,” he said. “All of Nipsey’s stuff was really helpful. They’re from the same area, Dame and him, so that’s cool.” Additionally, Majors said Nip helped him with dialect work. “The things he’s talking about are things that resonate with the world that Dame comes from, so that was very helpful,” he said.

Nipsey’s influence evidently seeped through Dame’s character and into the movie as a whole. He explained that Nip also made music that touched on a range of emotions. “There’s other songs that come from your subconscious that touch you in a way that can align you,” he said. “You write that song next to the top of the page or whatever, and there’s playlist upon playlist upon playlist,” he added, explaining that he would note what songs would work in specific scenes.