Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa lead BET Hip-Hop Award noms

Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross and Kanye West lead the nominations for the 2011 BET Hip-Hop Awards, which the network announced Thursday.

Fresh off of his impressive chart-topping debut with “Tha Carter IV,” Wayne leads the pack with a record-breaking 18 nods, including a nomination for the MVP of the year trophy. He’s also nominated in top races such as best live performer, best lyricist, track of the year and viewer’s choice.

West and Khalifa garnered nine nods each, and will compete against Wayne in the MVP race, along with Nicki Minaj and Ross, who scored six and eight nominations, respectively.

The Rookie of the Year award, the BET Awards’ version of best new artist, will be a showdown between Khalifa, Big Sean, Diggy Simmons, Big K.R.I.T. and two Odd Future members, Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator.

Other races worth watching include the Sweet 16 award for best guest verse — will Minaj’s venomous spot on West’s “Monster” or Busta Rhymes’ tongue-twister rhymes on Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” take the crown?; two verses from Khalifa and one from Wayne round out that category — and track of the year, which features “6 Foot 7 Foot,” “Black and Yellow,” “Look at Me Now,” “I’m on One” and “My Last.”

Comedian Mike Epps will host the sixth-annual awards, which will be pretaped at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center in Atlanta on Oct. 1, and will be broadcast on the network Oct. 11.

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