Chaka Khan on How Kanye West Sampled Her on “Through the Wire:” “I Thought it Was Stupid”
If I’d known he was gonna do that, I would have said, ‘Hell no.'”
Kanye West’s first major single, “Through the Wire,” famously sampled Chaka Khan‘s “Through the Fire.” The song — in which West details the car accident that broke his jaw over sped up Chaka Khan vocals — would go on to become one of the rapper’s most iconic songs.
It turns out not everyone loved the track, however. One person who wasn’t a fan: Chaka Khan herself.
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The legendary singer appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. She told the story of how West approached her to do the song.
He called me when he just got out of the hospital. He said, “You were so instrumental in my healing process. I changed the words a little bit to the song but I had to eat through a wire. Jaws wired shut through a straw.” It meant that much to me. It really got my heart, tugged at my string. I was like, yeah, use it.
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She then says she heard the song and didn’t like it. In the interview, it was clear that she was not a fan of how the song sped up her vocals:
Then when it came out, I was pissed. It was a little insulting. Not insulting, I thought it was stupid. If I’d known he was gonna do that, I would have said, “Hell no.”
Andy asked if she told Kanye her feelings about the song. She said no, but she believes her silence was enough.
During the interview, Khan also spoke about her relationship with Prince and Aretha Franklin, and of Whitney Houston covering her song “I’m Every Woman.” Watch the clip below.