June 23, 2024

Laz Alonso Explains Why Mother’s Milk Wears Hip-Hop Tees In ‘The Boys’


Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer’s News & Culture Editor. When…

For Laz Alonso, Hip-Hop Tees Are Mother's Milk's "Super Suit" In 'The Boys'

Photo Credit: Panagiotis Pantazidis

What began as an accident has since become an integral part of Mother’s Milk character in The Boys TV series.

There’s many reasons why Mother’s Milk has become a fan favorite on The Boys. Most notably, he’s the moral compass for the dysfunctional titular team: a grounding figure who tries to keep his teammates on a certain ethical code in their battle against Vought, as well as the corrupt superheroes that abuse their power in the TV series. But there’s another characteristic that fans have noticed that also adds to his appeal — that he’s a hip-hop fanatic, which is highlighted through the many hip-hop t-shirts he’s worn throughout the show’s three seasons.

From De La Soul and Public Enemy to NWA and DMX, Mother’s Milk (M.M.) has worn so many hip-hop tees that it has become a part of his character. But, as Laz Alonso, the actor who portrays M.M., explained, this Easter egg started out as an accident before becoming an integral part of who M.M. is.

With the character coming from Harlem, Alonso saw hip-hop t-shirts as an ode to where M.M. is from, with most of the tees being rappers from New York.

For Laz Alonso, Hip-Hop Tees Are Mother's Milk's "Super Suit" In The Boys

Photo Credit: Prime Video

“It’s evolved from season to season, but it has definitely been intentional,” Alonso said during a Zoom interview, explaining that the tees aren’t just an Easter egg for fellow hip-hop fans, but a tease for what the theme of an episode is. For example, in season three’s fifth episode, “The Last Time to Look on This World of Lies,” M.M. wears a “Stop the Violence” t-shirt, which is a nod to Boogie Down Production (BDP) and the movement BDP member KRS-One led in response to violence in New York in the late ’80s. (M.M. also wore a BDP tee in season two’s second episode, “Proper Preparation and Planning.”) The tee speaks to the self-destruction that viewers witness with Butcher and Hughie as they take Temporary Compound V (Temp V), a modified version of the drug that gives supes their powers.

Now, for the casual viewer, most would probably think putting a hip-hop tee on M.M. isn’t an arduous process. But it actually is.

“I’m working with our costume department constantly trying to figure out what the right shirt is, dealing with the legal department at Amazon and getting it cleared, and the legal people at Sony and ‘Oh, they didn’t clear this shirt, but we need this shirt because this is what’s happening in this episode, but they won’t clear this artist and all this stuff,’” Alonso said. “But it has become very much a story point as much as it is a fashion point.”

Ultimately, M.M.’s love of hip-hop — whether it be the tees or gifting his daughter Janine a Flavor Flav clock with a cuban link on it for her birthday — is his superpower, with Alonso saying: “He’s not in a super suit, so his super suit is hip-hop culture. That’s his swag and that’s his superpower. I really feel like being able to tell the story through hip-hop imagery is important too… Little things like that are what really like make us feel the character more.”

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Credit: Prime Video

When asked if M.M. has a go-to artist akin to Hughie’s fandom of Billy Joel, Alonso said it would probably be Public Enemy, adding that M.M.’s theme song would be the group’s anthemic “Fight the Power,” because it captures why he — and the rest of The Boys — are doing what they do. Alonso also hopes that actual hip-hop artists are able to make a cameo on the show at some point, with this latest season including cameos from Seth Rogen (who’s an executive producer on the series), Charlize Theron, Ashton Kutcher, Milk Kunis, and others.

Alonso said that he’d want Snoop Dogg to make an appearance on the show, noting that him and other rappers like Method Man and Drake are fans of The Boys.

“Snoop has been on my ass. Snoop wants to be on the show so bad. He’s been hitting me up like crazy,” the actor said. “It would be hilarious to see how to build him into the show, and if he had a power, what would that be? Would he be able to get the whole room high? Weed smoke come out his fingernails? You can smoke his dreads? It’s just so many ways you can go with Snoop.”

Whether a cameo with Snoop will actually happen or not as The Boys readies a fourth season is yet to be seen. But what is known is that The Boys aren’t just going to be battling against Vought and bad supes, but against themselves too when they return, especially M.M. and Butcher. Although season three’s last episode finds the team getting back together, that doesn’t mean M.M. still doesn’t feel a way about Butcher betraying his trust and using Soldier Boy — the supe who killed M.M.’s grandfather —  to try and kill Homelander.

For Laz Alonso, Hip-Hop Tees Are Mother's Milk's "Super Suit" In 'The Boys'

Photo Credit: Prime Video

“I think that broke something that has always been a theme with The Boys and that’s family,” Alonso explained. “The Boys has always been about family. We may not have powers, but we got each other and that’s all you need is to be together, to stick together. And once that was broken…I think trust is definitely going to be a factor moving forward.”

There’s also the use of Temp V — primarily by Butcher — that will continue to present a problem for The Boys, with Alonso noting that although it’s leveled the playing field against supes, it’s also fractured the group, too, leaving viewers to wonder if they can remain the good guys and not behave like the people they’re trying to stop.

“At what point are you no longer a good guy if you’re doing the same thing they’re doing?” Alonso said. “Again, our show is a mirror to society, and in society everybody thinks they’re the good guy. But that’s just a story they tell themselves to justify their own behavior.”

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