02/03/2009 at 09:00 PM EST
Joaquin Phoenix insists he's getting a bum rap.
"There's not a hoax," Phoenix tells the Associated Press of doubts about his sudden conversion from movie star to hip-hop artist. "Might I be ridiculous? Might my career in music be laughable? Yeah, that's possible, but that's certainly not my intention."
about his intentions surfaced after the newly bearded Phoenix, 34, took the stage in Las Vegas on Jan. 16 in an ill-fated debut of his new career. A video of his performance shows him falling off the stage, though he says it looks worse than it was.
"I had a lot of dudes come up and say, `We really respect you for doing it, putting yourself out there, and going with it,'" he tells AP. "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."