DJ Clark Kent's Good Taste

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native gives his take on sneakers, sports teams and music.


DJ Clark Kent

Photo By Getty Images

Rodolfo Franklin, aka DJ Clark Kent, doesn’t like to call himself a tastemaker.

The music producer, who’s created classic tracks for hip-hop heavyweights such as Jay-Z and also has collaborated with Nike on more than 40 sneaker projects, prefers to keep a low profile.

“I don’t know if I’m a tastemaker,” Franklin said. “I’m just a guy from Brooklyn who likes fresh stuff.”

When Pro-Keds needed a spokesperson for its Brooklyn Dodgers-inspired Royal Master sneaker, it called upon the emcee to dole out 42 pairs (for Jackie Robinson’s jersey number) to people of his choosing. 

Here, the Brooklyn-bred DJ talks about his love for kicks, the best sneaker shops and what New York basketball team has his allegiance.

Earliest sneaker memory:
“First name-brand pair of sneakers I got was given to me by my uncle, the guy who let me become a DJ. It was actually a pair of black Pro-Keds. As soon as I got those, I just wanted more. We would go to Glenwood Flea Market, a great flea market in Brooklyn at the time, and get some sneakers for $9 and try not to get robbed or anything like that on the way back.”

One song I can’t live without:
“Ecstasy” by Ohio Players. “It’s the best record I’ve ever heard. I can listen to it over and over again. The emotion in it is great.”

Knicks or Nets?
Knicks. “I think it’s phony to all of a sudden be a Nets fan if I wasn’t a fan last year or in the past five or 10 years. I’m a true Knicks fan, but I do respect the fact that Brooklyn has a basketball team. Name another borough that has a basketball team. Respectfully, it’s a really great feeling. But I would be way more excited if it was the Brooklyn Knicks.”

Best party I ever DJ’d:
“I haven’t done it yet. I play all the time, and I’ve seen some amazing parties. I did New Year’s Eve in London at an airplane hangar with 25,000 people. I played Hong Kong with 4,000 people and Japan with 6,000 people. As long as I keep DJ’ing, I don’t think I’ve played my best party yet.”

Musician I wish I’d met:
Marvin Gaye. “His voice was unexplainable. He made his voice part of the instruments and it’s just insane. He was the truth.”

Best sneaker shops in New York:
“21 Mercer. Flight Club seems like it has one of every shoe made. There’s a place on Fulton Street called Quickstrike that’s dope. Back in the day, there were a lot more shops.”

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