It's a testament to how much Kanye West runs the rap game that he leads all nominees for the BET 2012 Hip-Hop Awards despite not releasing a new album of solo material since 2010. But, there he is, at the top of the list with 17 nominations for the October 9 show that will be hosted by comedian Mike Epps.
Among the categories (click here for full list) Kanye is up for are: Hustler of the Year, CD Of the Year, Best Club Banger, Impact Track, Lyricist of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Video and Perfect Combo Award. The multi-faceted rapper also picked up bids for Producer of the Year and Video Director of the Year. The Hustler race is a tough one, with bids for 2 Chainz, Jigga, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, as is the People's Champ, which includes 'Ye's "Mercy," and The Throne's "Otis," as well as Meek Mill's "Ima Boss," Driicky Graham's "Snapbacks & Tattoos" and 2 Chainz's "No Lie."
"Mercy" is also in the mix for Best Hip-Hop Video, which also has entries from Wale ("Lotus Flower Bomb"), Drake ("HYFR"), A$AP Rocky ("Goldie") and Chainz ("No Lie"). The Perfect Combo race is no joke, either, with 2 Chainz and Drake's "No Lie" up against Drake, Wayne and Tyga's "The Motto (Remix)," J. Cole and Missy Elliott's "Nobody's Perfect," Wale and Miguel's "Lotus Flower Bomb" and 'Ye's "Mercy."
Performers for this year's show, which will be taped on September 29 at Atlanta's Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, have not yet been announced. The show will also feature a tribute to late hip-hop impresario Chris Lighty.
West earned two nods in the Best Club Banger category, for "Mercy" and his Jay-Z collaboration as The Throne, "N----s in Paris." He'll face off against Future ("Same Damn Time"), Drake ("The Motto") and Ca$h Out ("Cashin' Out") for that prize. The Throne and Kanye also earned noms for Best Live Performer, which is rounded out by J. Cole, Drake and A$AP Rocky.
Nominees for Best Mixtape include A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Meek Mill, Rick Ross and Wiz Khalifa. Sometimes all you need is a "Sweet 16," which earned nods for Best Featured Verse for Chainz ("Mercy"), Diddy ("Same Damn Time"), Drake ("Stay Schemin')," Ludacris ("Same Damn Time") and T.I. ("Magic").
The Lyricist of the Year group is led by a trio of veterans in Jay, Kanye and Nas, but also features newcomers Kendrick Lamar and Cole. In a nod to their stellar past 12 months, MVP of the Year pits Chainz against Cole, Kanye, Jay and Rick Ross.