When Joaquin Phoenix announced last October that he was giving up acting to pursue a career in music, said Maura Johnston in Idolator, it seemed like “some elaborate joke, in which Mr. Phoenix decides to turn the tables on the press, the public, and the very notion of 'celebrity'.” Now, after watching Phoenix’s debut rap performance in a Las Vegas club (watch the video here, via YouTube), it's hard not to imagine this as a “mockumentary”-in-the-making.
It does seem strange that Phoenix, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line, would make rap his genre of choice, said Matt Goodlett in Paste. But believe it or not, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs is set “to produce Phoenix's album,” so this “appears to be true.”
Whether it’s true or not, said Kristen Davis in the Examiner, I just wish Phoenix “would go back to what he does best, acting, and put a lid on the crazy.” But then again, “even Scarlett Johanssen sold some records,” so if Phoenix has some success with music, “then more power to him.”