Years Later, Chaka Khan Expresses Disappointment in Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” Sample — Says She ‘Sounds Like a Chipmunk’

Chaka Khan Upset Through the Wire Kanye West sample

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Chaka Khan has expressed disappointment at sounding like a chipmunk in Kanye West’s “Through the Wire.”

The 2003 debut single set the rapper and producer on the course for stardom. But not everyone is happy with the track. Chaka Khan appeared on Good Day DC on August 1 to promote her new single, “Woman Like Me.” The host, Marissa Mitchell asked her if she had talked to Kanye since “Through the Wire” dropped in 2003.

“I’m not looking to hear from Kanye, either,” the singer told the news outlet. “No, I’ve not heard from him and I’m not looking to hear from him. That’s what he did. That’s what he did with his music. I was upset about sounding like a chipmunk, ’cause he didn’t put that when he asked if he could sample my song. He didn’t mention that he was gonna speed it up three times its normal speed.”

Chaka Khan says if she had been informed that the sample was to be sped up – she wouldn’t have approved it. She also revealed the experience taught her to ask exactly how her music is to be sampled now, rather than assuming. “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 continued.

Khan shared her dislike of the song in a 2019 interview on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. She says the rapper asked her about sampling “Through the Fire” shortly after he was released from the hospital after a car accident almost claimed his life. She says the rapper called the song instrumental in his healing process, so she felt it wouldn’t be right to deny the use of the sample. Once she heard the finished product, though, she was pissed.

“It was a little insulting,” Khan called the sample. “Not insulting. I thought it was stupid. If I had known he was gonna do that, I would have said ‘hell no.'” Khan admits she never told Kanye she didn’t like the song, but she believes her silence towards the producer/rapper says all that needs to be said between them.