I decided to travel to Kansas City in January to sit down and chop it up with the homie Frank Clark before the big day. Armed with my Daily Paper down puffer jacket, an N95 mask, and a bottle of hand sanitizer, I jumped on my flight — ready to fight the cold.
We spoke on a wide range of topics including his fashion inspirations and upbringing in Los Angeles. See the whole conversation below.
Ray Santos | Frank Clark
Off the rip, you’re elite in this fashion shit. Who or what is your fashion inspiration? Man foreal my biggest inspo would be like these late 80s MFers. Used to be fly as hell. You go all the way back to some older movies — Grease, Cooley High. Dudes in letterman’s, nice ass chino pants, fly ass shoes, you know what I’m sayin’. You look at how they were dressing in the leather jackets, the blue denims, the Doc Marten type shoes. That rocker look, that more chill white T’s simple look but making a statement. Watching all these different types of movies, seeing how fashion is translated through film and art just inspires me in a whole ‘nother type of way. I ain’t have have no money growing up in the hood, but I always knew — shit, when I get some money or when shit is more in my favor — what I wanted.
At the moment, what’s your top 5 brands? Man I gotta go with Bottega Veneta, that’s one of the top brands out making shit right now, they hard as fuck. Alchemist, they’re another hard ass brand to me. The concept behind it, just the details in their work and craftsmanship is second to none. You go with denim, shit the denim gods who runnin’ the game right now to me is Gallery Department, but you gotta leave respect for Levi’s. A nigga like me go thrifting and find some Levis for $12 and I appreciate them the same way I appreciate them $800 pair of jeans you feel me? I think Prada making some other fuckin’ shit right now. Um, Louis, I feel like Louis always be number 1 for me. I grew up just loving Louis Vuitton — that brand I couldn’t afford. Like I went crazy when I seen Kanye called himself the Louis Vuitton Don back in the day, and he had all the briefcases, duffle bags, and all that shit. Then he came and made the Louis Dons! Man, Louis has such a rich history.
Your nickname, Black Elvis, is that fashion related? That’s more on the fashion side, how I dress you know, how I dress so effortlessly. You know Elvis was a fly MFer, used to be on his shit. A lot of my inspo comes from him. The bell bottom pants, how MFers love wearing the flare jeans and shit like that, that’s that 60’s shit you know what I’m saying, that 60’s rock and roll look. Leather pants, leather jackets, biker jackets. Shit like that was always inspiring for me during that era.
So growing up, you born and raised in Bakersfield? I was born in Bakersfield, spent like a month there, then I moved to LA. My whole life growing up was LA. Then I moved to Cleveland.
Then you moved to Michigan right? For college? Yup, University of Michigan.
How did Michigan pave your way to where you’re at now in the league? Michigan helped me out a lot, it gave me a different type of understanding that I was going to need on this level of life. So I’m at Michigan from 2011 to 2015, 18 to 21 years old, where I need as much knowledge as possible. You come from that high school stretch — that 16, 17, 18 — you tryna be grown, you driving, you tryna get some ass, you doing all types of shit, having fun. You just got the whip. You going to pool parties. You tryna kick it in the summer. You ain’t tryna be at the house. That’s 16, 17, 18. So now, 18 in Michigan, a MFer had structure, but it’s like, I need some shit to believe in, something I can buy into now. If I didn’t find nothing to buy into, I’m fucked. I knew I had to take my shit serious on the education side so I could do everything I wanted to do in the future.
Was your plan always to make it to the league? Yea, the plan was always to make it to the league.
How old were you when you committed to that? How old were you when you knew you could take this to the next level? It was when I was 16 at Glenville High School. I went to school with a lot of MFers man. I went to school with a lot of top players, respected in their positions, and the history how many players we done sent from our school to play pro, it was a good school man.
Your parents were separated when you grew up, how did this play a part on growing up? How did these experiences shape who you are today? It’s difficult for different niggas. For me, growing up in a single family house gave me more responsibility. For one, I had to take care of my mom for real, no matter what. As a kid, you can grow up in life and experience life — go out and play, build sand castles at the beach — but in certain people’s lives, you can’t go outside like that because you got other shit to do. I had to take of my mom. I had to look out for the house. I had to make sure I was cool. I didn’t have a dad around, it was just me and my momma. That’s how it be sometimes.
So that made you stronger, made you grow up faster right? Oh yea for sure. Made me grow up faster but miss a lot. That’s what I always say.
What was one of the most memorable things that you can remember from growing up? Me and my mom moved to Baldwin Village, in Los Angeles. Living in the city. That’s when I got my morals and code. I understood morals and code at an early age. Shit started making more sense to me: why certain shit was happening around me, why this dude got shot, why this happened over here, why my aunty and mom on drugs. Shit started making more sense to me. I was older mentally. I understood what was going on. Shit, I was 6 years old knowing how to catch a bus.
Take this back to football, you have any pregame rituals that help you get your mind right? Honestly bro, I be chillin before games. I listen to some Wiz Khalifa though. I listen to Wiz before every game. I pop that Kush and Orange juice before every game because it takes me back to those times in high school, when we didn’t really have no real responsibilities, and how this is where I’ve gotten to.