Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” is arguably one of his most successful songs and was responsible for launching his career to new heights. Though the song was prosperous to say the least, it came from a place of pain for the rapper. After a near-fatal car accident in 2002, West had to have his mouth wired shut having shattered his jaw. In his time of physical and emotional healing, West turned to R&B artist Chaka Khan and her song “Through the Fire.” This track was heavily sampled by west and inspired “Through the Wire” on West’s debut album, The College Dropout. Though Khan was excited by this at the time and agreed to let West use her song, after over a decade the singer songwriter has expressed her distaste for “Through the Wire.”
In a recent interview on Watch What Happens Live, Chaka Khan discussed her feelings about “Through the Wire” with host Andy Cohen. When Cohen brought up West sampling Khan’s song she explained how Kanye called her after his surgery asking for her permission to use “Through the Fire.” Originally, Khan said his story, “… really got my heart, tugged at my strings,” However, upon hearing “Through the Wire” for the first time she stated, “I was pissed. 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.’” Additionally, Khan was upset at how her voice was altered to sound more high pitched.
Khan never expressed these attitudes towards the song before when it was first released. When talking about why she never said anything Khan stated, “What can I say? The best way to tell him is silence. Give him crickets.”
Listen to the whole interview with Chaka Khan below:
Check out the music video for “Through the Wire” below: