In the wake of actor Joaquin Phoenix's career-change and debut as a rapper, there's been widespread speculation that it was all part of some elaborate hoax.
For starters, his buddy and fellow actor Casey Affleck was filming the whole thing. P. Diddy is said to be producing Phoenix's debut, and the newbie rapper's first show in Las Vegas sounded (and appeared on the internet) spectacularly... bad. So one could be forgiven for thinking that the endeavor had Hollywood satire written all over it.
But in an interview with the Associated Press yesterday, Phoenix addressed the allegations head-on: "There's no hoax," he said. "Might I be ridiculous? Might my career in music be laughable? Yeah, that's possible, but that's certainly not my intention."
Phoenix later addressed the video footage (see below) responsible for fueling the hoax rumors.
"It sucks that, yeah, the footage is out there [and] has like this incredibly bad sound, and you literally can't hear what's happening. It was much better in the club, and I don't know who said that people were booing ... because that was not happening," he asserted, adding, "Unless, of course, it's a pretty big place, and maybe it was happening. But it was not my experience."
Phoenix said he anticipated that his fight for respect in the rap industry would not be easy, but that he has received some encouragement. "I had a lot of dudes come up [after the show] and say, `We really respect you for doing it, putting yourself out there, and going with it.' Because I think true hip-hop heads know that it's hard, it's going to be a hard transition, and people are going to be lining up just to make fun of me."
Okay, Joaquin. Now we want to help: What about enlisting some legendary musicians as your backing band -- like a rap-rock fusion thing? (That's so hot right now) You know, someone established -- where there's no doubt as to their true musical intentions. Hey, maybe these guys?
Watch: Joaquin Phoenix at first-ever show