What! In your throat! Why! (a review of Shahin Najafi's song)


Multiple Personality Disorder
by Multiple Personality Disorder

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about Shahin Najafi’s new song, "تو حلقم".  The refraining phrase in that song being “تو حلقم”, which directly translates to “in my throat”, has also created a lot of controversy.  But, what does this phrase mean exactly.  And, as some people have suggested, would this song make Shahin Nejafi a sexist!?  Well, according to some people all Iranian men are sexists, but let’s put that school of thought aside for now so we can focus on the phrase in question, “تو حلقم”.

To understand what this new catch phrase means exactly, we must first look and see how it is used daily by today’s youth at the street level, because as far as I can tell the way it is use back home is quite different than what it is understood by us, the outsiders, the ones who have been away from living in that society for a long while; or the way it is understood by the ones, should I dare to say, are over forty.  The Farsi language is evolving constantly, especially the one that is used by the young, and we are getting behind.

As I remember,  when I was a teenager, a new phrase, “سه شد”, came to our language that my parents had no idea what it meant, and also during the Hippie era in the 60’s and 70’s a lot of new phrases were entering into English language that the older English-speaking generation had no idea what it meant, phrases like “what’s up”, “you’re grooving”, or “give me some skin brother!”!  'What!  Who is this black man telling me to give him some of my skin, and why is he calling me his brother!  Do I look like his brother!'  You see the misunderstanding?

So, what does “تو حلقم” mean? Well, actually it could mean anything , anything from acceptance, confirmation, corroboration, support, praise, to gratitude, and anything in between.  The phrase “تو حلقم” does not necessarily mean a negative thing, in the case of this song, an anti woman message tied up to a long list of things that is wrong with the woman in the song, and those things are getting into the artist's throat!  This phrase could mean anything from “it’s cool”, “you’re cool”, “I understand you/the situation”, “it’s great”, “anything goes”, “you’re great”, “I am with you”, “let’s do it”, “I want a piece of the action too”, “thanks”, “I am grateful”, “I accept your/the predicament”, and so on, and so forth; and of course “تو حلقم” can also always mean “in my throat”, which means something that’s “chocking me”.  It all depends on the context.

So, before we jump the gun, we out to ask Shahin Najafi what he means by this song, but don’t actually try this yet, because in one of his interviews I heard him say he really doesn’t feel like explaining things, either you are from a generation that understands him or you are not (these are my words, not exactly his, but you get the gist of I am saying).  The next thing we can look into is whether historically he has been a sexist person or not, which as far as I have looked into this there is no indication that he is against women.  By looking at this song alone, the way I see it is that a man is talking about a woman that he cares for, and as usual there are differences between them, and the man goes through a list of these things that he finds odd with the situation, and he is willing to except those.  He is saying, you have your guitar hanging in the kitchen, “تو حلقم “, “acceptance”, “whatever”, “I can take it”.  And, he goes on with the rest of the stuff on the list, but then he says he is different, and this is what he is, 'I am a singer, and this is a heavy burden on me, and you seem to be blind and can't see this, so one day I might have enough of this and just get up and say goodbye.'  I don't see anything wrong with this.

Would it have been better to have used a different phrase, a less controversial but more intellectual one, and sang the song for us, the older generation?  Or in his song, would it have been better to have the phrase, “تو حلقم “ explained clearly, or at least expanded the ending of the song better to make it more clear that he is not an anti woman person, fitting in something like, ‘’ برابری برای همه زنان”, “equal rights for all women”?  Well, maybe, but at the end, would the outcome be a “song”, or would it be pages of explanations, like so many of them that we usually don't ever read.  Let’s give the guy a break.  He is alright.  He has tons and tons of potentials.  Frankly, I think he will make master pieces, for all ages, for all genders, and creeds, and surely for Persian literature.



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by Truthseeker9 on

Why is this particular song / lyrics made to be so important? Perhaps he was just getting things off his chest, using elements to shock (which sells records) and words that sounded good. Maybe there is no hidden intellectual message in this song. Perhaps he is having the last laugh at how serious people are taking the lyrics that probably took him 10 minutes to write.

If anyone thinks the lyrics are sexist then most lyrics in rap to hiphop, pop to rock and roll are. 

hamsade ghadimi

تعبیر دیگری

hamsade ghadimi

"واژه‌ایست که هنگام تعجب از دیدن استفاده یک چیز غیر معمول و غالباً نازیبا گفته میشود. گاهی‌ هم برای زیر سوال بردن اعتماد به نفس بیجای افراد به کار میرود."


Soosan Khanoom


by Soosan Khanoom on

That and also ' no specific gender' ... Social issues in general. Something that effects everyone regardless of the gender.  In his poetry, he is unisex... 

I also think rap has its own values and has its own separate identity.  We can not expect everyone follows the old traditional school in order for their works to be considered a great literature.

Thanks for the blog and the discussions that it has generated.  

Multiple Personality Disorder


by Multiple Personality Disorder on

When you say, "There is no gender in his poetry.", you mean to say, "There is no gender bias in his poetry."  Because, there is "gender" in his poems.   

Soosan Khanoom

Shahin is NOT sexist

by Soosan Khanoom on

PERIOD.     Shahin is the voice of a new generation  both male and female. Just listen to the lyrics of " Harf-e Zan '.  I have come to know Shahin long before atleast many of you here and Since the day I attended his concert at the Georgetown University I have remained a fan.   He is a social poet .. Those who criticize him do not really know what a social poet is.  There is no gender in his poetry.  



by yolanda on

double post



by yolanda on

Thank you, MPD, for this blog. I don't know if Shahin is sexist, but Wikipedia says:

Najafi's songs mostly deal with issues such as theocracy, poverty, sexism, censorship, child labor, execution, drug addiction and homophobia.

I find Shahin's song lyrics taboo-breaking, avant-garde, and shocking! As you know, this "throaty" song mentioned "painting with dung"! Unbelievable!

His song, Naghi, mentioned Farahani's tits and Iranian soccer player's fingering act, etc! His songs are kind of attention-grabbing and controversial! That is why we are still talking about his song!

Multiple Personality Disorder

نه ام‌ام جان. اصلاً اونطوری نیست

Multiple Personality Disorder

«تو حلقم» یک اصطلاحِ جدیدِ کاملاً متداول بینِ نوجوانانِ امروزِ ایرانه، و شاهین نجفی دقیقاً می‌خواسته از این اصطلاح استفاده کنه، و به «به ..رم» یا «به ..مم» اصلاً ربطی نداره، اگرچه خیلی مواقع وقتی کار به جاهای باریک می کشه خیلی مردا میگن «به ..رم» یا «به ..مم».


MPD - two changes were made to too-halgham, I think!

by MM on

I think the singer missed the mark by around 3 feet south, and maybe even with the wrong prefix (too instead of be) - probably to make the song G-rated.

persian westender

Good observations!

by persian westender on

MPD, I believe the meaning of some uncommon and ambiguous words and slangs, should be considered in their contexts. My underestanding of this word in Najafi's song, is leaning to what Faramarz has suggested. 



Great blog and an even better discussion on "hermeneutics" of

by Zendanian on

"To Halgham."

As you correctly note, popular, spoken language of the youth of each generation, in each country and culture, is far different from the established, written language of "elders." In other words such argot is in a catagory all its own, and not comparable with any other.

A few years back (actually it was almost a decade ago) I was reading review of this new dictionary of youth slangs in Farsi (whish I could remember  name of the person who put it together, it was a lady, but I don't) published in Iran.

The editor was mentioning the terms "Khali Bazi" and "Khali Bandi" which ten years ago or so were relatively new slangs in Farsi language.

Raymond Williams, the great English historian and writer, also has a rather unusall dictionary of English terms called "Key Words" and how some key terms and words  have evolved and changed in the course of history.   

Multiple Personality Disorder

باشه، اعتراضِ شما تو حلقم

Multiple Personality Disorder



آقای میم پ دال


آقا "فکر می‌کنم امن باشد که فرض کنیم" در فارسی هیچ معنایی نداره ها..........حالا ما گفتیم، دیگه خود دانی‌ :)

Multiple Personality Disorder


by Multiple Personality Disorder on

“... The use of this term is for compliment with ridicule.”

The above sentence is a part of a translation of the song as it is posted on YouTube.  I think it is safe to assume that this is a translation of what Shahin Najafi has written in Farsi.

So, the puzzling thought for me is how something can be a “compliment” with “ridicule” at the same time!

Multiple Personality Disorder

یادداشت الحاقی

Multiple Personality Disorder

«توحلقم: ... کاربرد آن برای تمجید و تعریف همراه با تمسخر می‌باشد.»

جملهِ بالا قسمتی از نوشتاری‌ست که همراهِ این آواز منتشر شده است.  فکر می‌کنم امن باشد که فرض کرد که این جمله را شاهین نجفی گفته باشد.  پس اینطوری، معمای فکری برای من این است که چطور چیزی هم می‌تواند «تمجید و تعریف» باشد و هم «تمسخر»!


Shoved down my throat!

by Faramarz on



Thanks MPD for your contributions to this topic.

My take on this phrase, "too Halgham" is that certain aspects of the contemporary culture is being shoved down our throats and we are being forced to accept them as norm.