The collaboration-heavy field includes B.o.B (featuring Hayley Williams) with "Airplanes," Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem with "Forever," Eminem with "Not Afraid," Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz with "On to the Next One," and Kid Cudi (featuring MGMT and Ratatat) with "Pursuit of Happiness." The category includes nods for two legends, Em and Hov, who boast acclaimed late-career albums, but the recent focus has been on two big-in-2010 newcomers: Drake and B.o.B.
Atlanta upstart B.o.B, whose "Airplanes" duet was also in the running to be crowned MTV's Summer Jam of 2010, has made a lot of noise with his melodic singles and chart-ruling LP, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. But Drake had fans rioting, screaming and weeping in anticipation of his debut, Thank Me Later, and even bloggers fell back when it came to posting leaked songs, out of respect for the Toronto MC.
So who will take it? When MTV News hit up a slew of celebs, the stars seemed split over which lyricist should walk out of the VMAs with a shiny new Moonman for his mantle.
"Definitely would like to see Drake take it, 'cause he's a good friend of mine, and definitely B.o.B, because he's hometown," said fellow ATL spitter Gucci Mane. "I would like to say ... B.o.B for the hometown and Drake on the strength [of his skills]. He's a talent."
"They're both really good, but B.o.B's just more my style," said Kendall Schmidt of Big Time Rush. "Drake's the man; he represents Canada. But B.o.B's really cool."
"My brother Drake, he has to win. It's Young Money, he gotta win that one," Drizzy's Young Money cohort Lil Twist insisted. "Shout-out to B.o.B, but Drake gotta win that one."
Disney actress Keke Palmer said she's been cool with Drake since their child-star days, but she's also feelin' newbie B.o.B. "I love Drake. Whenever I did something in Toronto, I used to go visit him on the set of 'Degrassi.' Then I love B.o.B because I met him and he's so cool and we're friends," Palmer said. "I don't know what to do, because I love both of them."
Rapid-fire Chi-Town lyricist Twista was all about the gritty knock of Hov's contending video. "I like all [of those] songs, but that "On to the Next One" with Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz is crazy," Twista smiled. "That's my jam right there."
Sarah Hyland of the Emmy-winning hit "Modern Family" said, "I love Eminem. His new album [Recovery] is amazing."
Nicki Minaj may hook up a range of artists with a colorful feature, but she proves that, in the end, she stays loyal to her hip-hop family. "Do you even have to ask that? My baby Drake ... he does this," Minaj said. "Young Money."
Regardless of who takes it Sunday, Gucci pointed out that just being recognized is a dope distinction. "From Kid Cudi to everyone you named on that list, big ups and respect," Gucci noted. "It's an honor to be nominated."
Who do you think will win Best Hip-Hop Video at this year's VMAs? Let us know in the comments below!
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday. The party starts with MTV News' VMA Pre-Show at 8 p.m., followed by the main event at 9 p.m. ET.