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Chaka Khan discusses “sounding like a chipmunk” on Kanye West’s “Through the Wire”

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Derek White/Getty Images for Strength Of A Woman Festival & Summit

Kanye West‘s “Through the Wire” may be a Platinum-selling hit, but it still strikes a nerve with Grammy-winning singer Chaka Khan. In an interview with Good Day DCChaka reflected on the track, which samples her 1985 song “Through the Fire,” and revealed she’s still “upset about sounding like a chipmunk.”

According to Chaka, she was not aware that her voice would be sped up on the song. “[Kanye] didn’t mention that he was gonna speed it up, you know, three times its normal speed,” she said. “Had he, I would’ve had something to say.” The experience, however, has taught her to inquire more in the future. “But since I didn’t think of that, believe me, I think of it now,” the singer continued. “I ask, ‘How are we gonna do this?’”

“Through the Wire” hears Ye open up about his nearly fatal car accident and the subsequent hospitalization, during which his mouth was wired shut. In a 2019 appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Chaka said she agreed to let him sample the track after learning it was “instrumental” in his healing process.

Initially touched, her feelings later changed when she heard the finished product. “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.’”

A year later, Chaka told Vlad TV that she approved the use of “Through the Fire” because she thought there’d be no changes to her voice. 

“I thought about it and said, ‘Well, he can’t mess it up because I will be singing it after all. It’s my voice,'” she recalled. “But he found a way. By golly, he found a way to frick that up. I was through.”

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