09/17/2008 at 10:00 AM EDT
Rapper Lil Wayne leads the third annual BET Hip Hop Awards, with 12 nominations, the network announced Monday.
drew seven nods, while Jay-Z follows with six.
New Orleans native Lil Wayne, 25, who sold one million copies
of his new album, Tha Carter III
, in its first week of release, will duke it out with West, 31, and Jay-Z, 38, in five categories, including MVP of the year, best live performer, and CD of the year.
Music mogul Russell Simmons will be saluted with the "I Am Hip Hop" Icon Award, which is given to an individual who’s made exceptional contributions to the hip hop community.
The October 18th ceremony will be hosted by comedian Katt Williams at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center and will air on BET on Oct. 23.