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Phoenix begins new career as rapper

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Joaquin Phoenix says his first foray into the U.S. music scene as a rapper allows him to fully express himself in a way acting didn't.

Phoenix, who officially retired as an actor in October, said in Las Vegas Friday that rapping gives him a chance to communicate his feelings directly to people, People.com reported Saturday.

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"After all the years of reading scripts and reading lines, this is my chance to do something straight from the heart and put it out there," he said while in Vegas for a concert at the LAVO nightclub.

After performing, the 34-year-old Phoenix spoke about the anticipated backlash he will receive for leaving Hollywood.

"Are there people out there who think I'm a joke? I'm sure there will be," the actor of "Gladiator" and "Walk the Line" fame told People. "Are there people who think it's going to suck? Probably, but I can't worry about that."

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