The world got the breakup anthem it needed this year with Lil Uzi Vert's Luv is Rage 2 single. But Nicki Minaj's remix of "The Way Life Goes" improves upon a bittersweet song that's close to perfection and, like a cherry on top of the proverbial cupcake, gives us one juicy bonus: Minaj's contribution includes a new self-created nickname, Nicki Yamaguchi. The 34-year-old's verse is already a thing of beauty. Listeners are told that she's been "queen for eight summers," which suggests she believes she's been ruling the airwaves ever since her 2009 mixtape Beam Me Up Scotty.
But the moment that might give you pause for thought is found in the following lines: "I am Nicki Yamaguchi / 'Cause I skate with the ice." As Genius commenter CameronGermain observed, this is probably a reference to Kristi Yamaguchi, the figure skater. If you're not as in the know about American ice-skating figures, then it's probably relevant that Yamaguchi isn't just some former figure skater but a world champion, who, as The New York Times reported, won a gold medal for figure skating in the 1992 Winter Olympics. Basically, she's a winner, just like Minaj herself, whose own success is marked by ice — not ice ice, but as Genius commentator NasMaraj implied, all the jewelry she can afford. It's not yet clear whether this is simply a nickname or a fully-fledged alter ego — fans will have to wait and see whether Nicki Yamaguchi makes another appearance.
This seems to just be the latest in a list of alter egos the star has given herself. The star's most famous nickname is Roman Zolanski, who appears on songs like "Bottoms Up", "Roman Holiday" and "Roman's Revenge."Essence refers to the character as a "gay alter ego," something which Minaj seemed to confirm in her interview with The New York Times' T Magazine in 2010. Earlier in the piece, she gave a fuller description of the character when the interviewer confessed they'd hoped to be greeted by the alter ego:
"Sometimes if it’s really early in the morning, Roman gets cranky and doesn’t want to get out of bed. Roman is lazy, you know, he wants to stay out all night and not wake up so I send Nicki out into the world. Roman has to be conjured up and now you’ve conjured him."
In an interview with MTV News, Minaj revealed that Zolanski holds a special place in her heart, stating in a British accent, "Everybody knows my favorite alter ego is Roman." Bizarrely enough, another major Minaj alter ego is related to Roman — his mother, Martha Zolanski, who appears in the closing moments of "Roman's Revenge" and who appears as a fairy godmother in "Moment 4 Life."
However, the Zolanski family don't constitute her only alter egos. She also goes by the name of Harajuku Barbie for reasons she explains in the video above, citing the Harajuku culture from Japan, "because the way they dress is the way I am on the inside, free-spirited, girls just wanna have fun, kickass, pop, rock n' roll... hip hop, that's how I feel." She said she merged this identity with Barbie because, as she said, "all girls are Barbies, we all want to play dress up, we all want to put on lipstick and feel sexy." According to a tweet written by Minaj herself, Harajuku Barbie stars on "Monster" and presumably she also stars prominently on the rapper's 2010 mixtape Barbie World. Heck, the alter ego even came to life when, according to Spin, Minaj collaborated with Mattel to create a one-of-a-kind Harajuku Barbie which was auctioned off for charity.
Of course, the star's alter egos aren't always so fully fleshed out — sometimes they present themselves for just one occasion. Her Campus claims there is a Nicki Teresa, who appeared before her fans in a head scarf and said she wanted to "heal her fans," for example. As such, it's perfectly possible that this is the case with the new ice skater character — maybe she's a one song only deal, part of what MTV reports Minaj once referred to as her "Nicktionary" or "my own little terms and phrases". But let's hope not. Winter's coming and we could use a few more pro ice skaters around.