There's no hardware to prove that Lil Wayne is the best rapper alive. But right at this moment, he's certainly the most nominated rapper around.
Tha Carter III's mastermind has scored a leading 12 nominations heading into the third annual BET Hip-Hop Awards next month, including nods for Hustler, Lyricist and MVP of the Year. His chart-topping "Lollipop" is up for Track of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Video and—yay, 21st century—Hottest Ringtone.
After becoming the first album since 50 Cent's The Massacre in 2005 to move 1 million copies in one week, Tha Carter III has gone on to sell more than 2.5 million copies—both statistics that make Lil Wayne a solid favorite to take home that MVP trophy.
No slouch but still in second place is Kanye West with seven nominations, among them CD of the Year for Graduation and Track of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Video for "Good Life."
The paparazzi's favorite MC and Lil Wayne will also face off against each other for MVP, Lyricist and Best Live Performer honors.
The once-retired Jay-Z, who's up for six awards; DJ Khaled, the multitasking "I'm So Hood" rapper who's got five nods, including top DJ and Hustler; and T.I., who was arrested hours before last year's show but has another shot to pick up three statues, round out the field for MVP of the Year.
Meanwhile, one of these just-bursting-on-the-scene talents—Ace Hood, Flo Rida, Maino, Rocko or Shawty Lo—will walk away with the award for Rookie of the Year.
Rap and fashion mogul Russell Simmons will be the recipient of this year's "I Am Hip-Hop" Icon Award for career achievement.
Comedian Kat Williams has been tapped to host for the third straight year, but performers will be announced at a later date. The festivities take place Oct. 18 at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, with BET set to televise the ceremony Oct. 23.
Here's the complete list of nominees for the 2008 BET Hip-Hop Awards:
Best Hip-Hop Video:
Best Hip-Hop Collaboration:
Best Live Performer:
Lyricist of the Year:
Video Director of the Year:
Producer of the Year:
MVP of the Year:
Track of the Year:
CD of the Year:
Rookie of the Year:
DJ of the Year:
Hustler of the Year:
Alltel Wireless People’s Champ Nominees:
Hottest Hip-Hop Ringtone of the Year:
Best U.K. Hip-Hop Act: