Chaka Khan Is Still ‘Upset About Sounding Like a Chipmunk’ on Kanye West’s ‘Through the Wire’

It has been 17 years since Kanye West‘s debut single “Through the Wire” was released, in which he sampled Chaka Khan‘s voice from her 1984 track “Through the Fire.” While considered a staple of West’s catalogue, Khan is still not a fan of how her voice turned out on the song all these years later, she revealed on Monday (Aug. 1).

During an interview with Good Day DC, host Marissa Mitchell brought up Khan’s distaste of West’s treatment of the sample. The 10-time Grammy winner said she was “upset about sounding like a chipmunk” on the track.

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“[Kanye] didn’t mention that he was gonna speed it up, you know, three times its normal speed,” Khan added. “Had he, I would’ve had something to say. But since I didn’t think of that, believe me, I think of it now. I ask, ‘How are we gonna do this?’”

The 69-year-old also commented about the “Through the Wire” sample in 2019 during her appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. According to Khan, West requested to use the sample shortly after his near-fatal car accident, telling her in a call that she was “so instrumental in my healing process.”

Khan, touched by West’s story at the time, gave him permission to use her voice on his song, but was ultimately “pissed” after hearing how it turned out. “It was a little insulting,” she said. “Not insulting — I thought it was stupid. If I’d known he was gonna do that, I would have said, ‘Hell no.’”

Watch Khan address the sample on “Through the Wire” below.

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