More than a decade ago, Chaka Khan gave Kanye West permission to sample her 1985 hit “Through the Fire.” But when she heard the rapper’s interpretation, she says she was “pissed.”
West shot to stardom after releasing his 2003 debut single “Through the Wire,” which detailed his hospitalization and having his mouth wired shut after a car accident.
During an appearance Wednesday night on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, host Andy Cohen asked Khan how the conversation went when West asked to sample her song.
“Very differently than the song turned out, obviously,” Khan said. “You were not happy?” Cohen asked. “No,” she responded.
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The legendary singer said West appealed to her by saying the single helped him through his recovery.
“He called me when he just got out of the hospital. He said, ‘You were so instrumental in my healing process. I had to change the words a little bit to the song, but I had to eat through a wire, you know, and I was wired shut, through a straw,’” Khan recalled. “It meant that much to me, and it really got my heart.”
That was until she heard West’s sped-up version of the track.
“I was pissed,” Khan said. “I thought it was a little insulting. No not insulting, I thought it was stupid. If I had known he was going to do that, I would have said, ‘hell no.’”
The singer admitted she made money off the sample, which made Cohen chuckle.
By the way, “Through the Wire” was nominated for a best rap solo performance Grammy Award.