Trending Topics

‘It Was Stupid:’ Chaka Khan Isn’t a Fan of Kanye West Sampling Her Voice for ‘Through the Wire’

In the last few seconds of Kanye West‘s “Through the Wire” video, he kisses his hand, then touches a poster of Chaka Khan. He sampled the singer’s voice for the song, which is from her 1984 cut “Through the Fire.” He also wrote the words “Thank You” at the end of the video.

Khan stopped by “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” on Wednesday and talked about West sampling her voice for his 2003 hit, and she had nothing good to say about it.

The 66-year-old admitted that West spoke to her about using her vocals before entering the studio, but the finished product was nothing like she thought it would be.

“[Our conversation went] very differently than the song came out, obviously,” Khan told Cohen.

“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,” she added. “It really got my heart, tugged at my string. I was like, ‘Yeah, use it.'”

Although he wasn’t the first producer to speed up vocal-samples and change them to a higher pitch, called Chipmunk Soul, West has been credited with perfecting the technique. It’s a method he’s used on many of his earlier hits, including “Through the Wire,” but Khan still can’t stomach it.

She also mocked the high pitched chorus of the song and said it really bothers her.

“It was a little insulting,” Khan stated. “Not insulting, I thought it was stupid. If I’d known he was gonna do that, I would have said, ‘Hell no.'”

The former Rufus singer said she never told West that she disliked the song, but she doesn’t speak to him anymore. “The best way to tell him is silence,” she explained. “Give him crickets.”

The Chicago producer hasn’t responded to Khan’s interview yet, but his fans have.

“I don’t think she understands how sampling works lol,” someone wrote on YouTube.

“Even if you don’t like it respect the craft,” another person commented. “It wasn’t intended to sound anything like her version.”

But there were also a number of people who agreed with Khan and said West ruined her 1984 tune.

“How do you take one of the most extraordinary vocal performances EVER and speed it up? Dumb!” that person wrote.

Back to top