Chaka Khan says Kanye West sampling her on “Through the Wire” was “stupid”
The legendary singer wasn’t pleased with the outcome.
Kanye West‘s debut single, “Through the Wire,” was a game-changer, both for the Chicago native and the landscape of contemporary hip hop alike.
The 2003 song, which marks ‘Ye’s introduction to the masses as a rapper and not solely a producer, was written and recorded while West had to have his jaw wired shut after surviving a near-fatal car crash. Doubling as the lead single off his debut album, 2004’s The College Dropout, the now-classic track samples Chaka Khan‘s 1985 single, “Through the Fire.”
While the rest is now history, with the song serving as a springboard to West’s monumental career, one part of the narrative may come as a surprise to some folks.
During a recent appearance on “Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen,” Khan reflected on the reality that she wasn’t all that convinced at the time that she should clear the sample.
However, she did speak with ‘Ye ahead of time and during their conversation, he passionately expressed how important her music was to him while he recovered from the accident specifically.
“He called me when he just got out of the hospital,” she recalled, after noting that the song turned out much differently than she was initially anticipating. “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.”
After this, Khan makes it clear she was not happy with West whatsoever once she heard the final version.
“Then when it came out—[mocks the high-pitched chorus]—I was pissed,” the music icon continued. “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.’”
The 66-year-old says she never told West her opinion of the finished product but clearly now has finally gotten her disdain off her chest.
Take a look at Chaka Khan reflecting on Kanye West’s sampling usage on “Through the Wire” in the clip below.