NAACP Image Award-winning actor Laz Alonso is staying true to his love for Hip-Hop within his role as “Mother’s Milk” (MM), in Amazon Prime’s uncanny superhero series The Boys. During an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, Alonso spoke on the Hip-Hop-inspired graphic tees worn by his character throughout the Emmy-nominated series’ third season.
From wearing an iconic Wu-Tang Clan logo tee to a 2 Pac tee, Alonso says, “What I’m trying to do is give you an Easter egg to Hip-Hop fans and basically describe where MM is and what’s going on in the story based upon the artist on my shirt, and what songs are playing.”
Alonso also spoke on the difference between this season’s Hip-Hop representation compared to its predecessor.
“The last couple of seasons were just artists this season. I wanted to take it a little deeper and do songs. We did ‘Fight the Power,’ we did ‘Self Destruction’ from the Stop the Violence Movement that BDP kinda spearheaded back in the day, we did Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America.’ We pick and chose songs that were very in line with what was going on in the story.”
Deeming the decision for the standout tees as a “nod to Hip-Hop,” Alonso made it clear that his character MM is from Harlem. “So, I wanted to somehow build Harlem into the character. So, what’s the best way to do it? Without him even opening his mouth, I wanted you to see and feel New York. What defines New York, in my opinion, is Hip-Hop culture.”
He continued, “This season, I wanted to give a shoutout to DMX, who passed away while we were filming this season, and the Ruff Ryders, who lost DMX. We also brought in NWA this season. It has always kinda been artists that defined New York and now it’s not only artists that defined New York, but artists in general that help define the story.”
He also spoke about his continued creative input in the series and shared his process of choosing what his character wears, from footwear to clothing. For him, the goal is to get the viewers talking about what they see.
“I’ll send artists to our costume director,” he shared. “I take the artists and the songs, and he’ll have his team design the shirts, and then we’ll send them to Sony legal and Amazon legal and see what gets approved, what doesn’t get approved. Sometimes they say, ‘We’ll approve it if you make this change,’ and sometimes they don’t approve it at all.”
He added, “It’s different things that you have to go through with legal clearance. There were some artists that we wanted that didn’t get approved, for whatever reason.”
Alonso revealed that one shirt, in particular, needed many alterations to really convey the important message that he wanted viewers to receive after seeing it on MM. “With the ‘This is America’ shirt, you got the map of the USA, and it says, ‘This is America’ over it,” he said. “When I got it back, I said, ‘add some gunshots over it.’ So, he added some gunshots. Then I said, ‘Make it look like the glass is shattering.’”
Unsatisfied with only three gunshot-resembling holes in the shirt, Alonso told the designer, “‘Nah, in America, there’s a lot more shots busting off than that.’ Then he sent it back with 50 shots, and I’m like, ‘Nah, that’s too many shots.’ We ended up with like 10 shots.” Alonso’s point was to “convey a message about what was going on in America at the time,” especially with the tragic mass shootings and senseless police shootings.
“The funny thing is, the t-shirts have always been the hero for MM for the last three seasons,” he said. “This season, the footwear became the hero. Everybody was talking about the Jordans, and I felt bad. I’m like, ‘What’s up with the shirts? Nobody’s talking about the shirts.’”
The Boys has just been renewed for its fourth season, according to Variety. In the meantime, season three is available on Amazon Prime now.
Watch the trailer for the latest season below.