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Kanye West, Jay-Z's 'Throne' dominates BET Award nominations

May 22, 2012 |  4:30 pm

Kanye

Kanye West leads the list of nominations for the 2012 BET Awards, which the network announced on Tuesday.

West scored a leading seven, six of them the result of his heralded collaboration with Jay-Z.

When the two rap heavyweights announced they would join forces on “Watch the Throne,” under the equally royal moniker the Throne, it became one of last year’s most anticipated releases. Fans were eager to hear what the frequent collaborators would offer.

The pair bypassed traditional album promotion: They didn’t issue a handful of visuals for the singles outside of “Otis” and “ … In Paris” -- both of which compete for video of the year -- and if you wanted to see them perform together, the best chance was their massive fall tour, which became one of 2011’s highest grossing.

"Watch the Throne" garnered rave reviews for its genre-bending production from West, the Neptunes, the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, Swizz Beatz, Hit Boy and Q-Tip, and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart when it was released in August -– not so surprising, given that Jay-Z and West have 15 No. 1 albums between them.

The Throne is also up for best group, collaboration and viewer’s choice statues. West is up for director of the year.

A few of the categories promise to make things complicated for Jay-Z's personal life: In five out of six nods, he's pitted against his wife, Beyoncé, who also scored six nominations.

Like her hubby and his BFF (who we seriously hope is the godfather to the pair's daughter), Beyoncé has two nods in the video of the year category with fan favorites "Love on Top" and "Countdown" making the cut. Usher's enticing clip for his latest single, "Climax," rounds out the category. Beyonce is also up for director against West.

Things are further complicated in the collaboration category, which is essentially six degrees of Jay-Z: Beyoncé’s “Party” remix, which features Jay’s protégé J. Cole, competes with Jay’s collab with West, who also appears in the category alongside his protégé Big Sean. Did we mention West produced the Beyoncé/J.Cole single?

Other multiple nominees unsurprisingly include Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Drake.

After a year of freshman rappers breaking out, the new artist category is dominated by MCs. A$AP Rocky, Big Sean, Diggy, Future and Meek Mill will compete for the crown. In the female rap category, however, the upstart fem-cees who made news during the year fared less well; only one new face made the cut, Florida girl Brianna Perry. She squares off against reigning "It" girl Nicki Minaj and vets Diamond and Trina (the latter of whom mentored Perry).

Last year Trina, who was edged out by Minaj, Master P's daughter Cymphonique, Lola Monroe and Diamond in the female rap category, had unprintable words for the network after she claimed to be snubbed -- to be eligible artists need a video played on the network during an eligibility period, which explains why buzzy blog darlings such as Australian bombshell Iggy Azalea and gritty Harlem-red spitfire Azealia Banks missed the cut.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly will receive a lifetime achievement award and Brown and Minaj have been announced as the first of many performers.

The BET Awards remains one of the highest-rated annual events for the network, and plenty of viewers undoubtedly will tune in to see how the show pays tribute to iconic figures the music world lost, including Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Don Cornelius and Amy Winehouse.

The 2012 BET Awards are scheduled to air live July 1 from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles with Samuel L. Jackson tapped to host the ceremony.

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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Twitter.com/GerrickKennedy

Photo: Kanye West on stage at Staples Center on Dec. 11, 2011 for his "Watch the Throne" tour with Jay-Z in Los Angeles, the first of three nights. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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