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Chaka Khan Squashes Kanye West Beef Over ‘Through the Wire’ Sample: It’s Not ‘A Big Deal’

Chaka Khan Ends Kanye West Feud
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images; Rachpoot/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Chaka Khan has not only ended her touring career, but she’s also put her drama with Kanye West behind her.

“That was my fault, too, for feeling salty about that in any way,” Khan, 70, said in a new interview published in Rolling Stone on Thursday, December 28. Khan’s drama with West, 46, stemmed over how he sampled her song, “Through the Fire,” for his debut solo single, 2003’s “Through the Wire,” a cut from his landmark album The College Dropout. Khan wasn’t happy with how West sped up her vocals for the beat, making her voice almost unrecognizable.

The practice of speeding up or slowing down loops has since become commonplace, thanks in part to West’s influence on hip-hop and the proliferation of TikTok. Khan now recognizes this, telling Rolling Stone, “Because if I understood the rap game more completely, like I do now, then that wouldn’t have been a big deal to me.”

When asked whether “Through the Wire” bothers her anymore, Khan dismissed any notion of being fazed by West’s sample. “No, I’m done. Please,” she said. ”I’m not hanging on to any silly grudges.”

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Khan’s change came a year after the “Tell Me Something Good” singer said she was still “upset about sounding like a chipmunk.” Khan went on Good Day DC in 2022 and said West “didn’t mention that he was going to speed it up, you know, three times its normal speed. Had he, I would’ve had something to say.”

In 2019, while on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Khan went into detail about how the collaboration came about. In 2002, West was involved in a near-fatal car accident. His jaw was wired shut, and the legend around “Through the Wire” is that he wrote and rapped the song while his jaw was held in place.

Chaka Khan Ends Kanye West Feud
Chaka Khan and Kanye West during the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

“[West] called me when he just got out of the hospital,” Khan said on the 2019 episode of WWHL. “He said, ‘You were so instrumental in my healing process. I changed the words a little bit to the song but I had to eat through a wire. Jaws wired shut through a straw. It meant that much to me.’ … I was like, ‘Yeah, use it.’ Then when it came out, I was pissed. It was a little insulting. Not insulting, I thought it was stupid. If I’d known he was going to do that, I would have said, ‘Hell no.’”

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As 2023 ends, however, Khan is too busy enjoying her “rich-ass life,” as she told RS, to be bothered. It’s also why she’s done with touring. “I’ve got great-grandchildren I want to get to know better,” she told the publication. “So, I will not do another tour. I’ll do dates, but it won’t look like a tour. They’ll be far enough apart that I can have time to sleep in between.”

As for retiring altogether? “Well, I might do that three or four times, like other bitches do,” Khan said with a laugh.

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