When Kanye West left the hospital with his mouth wired shut following a 2002 car accident, he called up Chaka Khan. The burgeoning rapper had been inspired by the iconic singer while recuperating, and he wanted to sample “Through the Fire” on one of the tracks for his forthcoming debut full-length, The College Dropout. Khan agreed at the time, but in a new interview, she revealed that she thought the resulting track, “Through the Wire”, was “stupid.”
Khan was a recent guest on Watch What Happens Live when host Andy Cohen brought up Kanye’s 2003 breakout single (via FADER). She recalled getting that call and being touched by Kanye’s sentiments. “It really got my heart, tugged at my strings,” she said. However, when Cohen asked how those conversations about using the sample went, she answered, “Very differently than the song turned out, obviously.”
She said when she heard how her vocals had been pitched up to the point of mouse-squeakiness, she was none too pleased. “I was pissed,” she remarked. “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.’”
This is likely the first time Kanye West is hearing about Chaka Khan’s displeasure over “Through the Wire”, as she apparently never told him about it. “What can I say? The best way to tell him is silence. Give him crickets.” Watch the whole interview below.
Kanye actually gave thanks to Khan in a shout out at the end of the track’s music video. Whoops. Revisit the song and clip below.