NEW YORK – T-Pain's status as urban music's most frequent collaborator helped him nab a leading five BET Award nominations.
Kanye West and Keyshia Cole received three nominations, while Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys and newcomer Flo Rida received a pair each. The awards were to be announced later Thursday.
While T-Pain has his own hits, including the chart-topper "Buy U a Drank," the singer and his electronically manipulated voice are often found on other people's songs. He received nominations for best collaboration for his work with Chris Brown ("Kiss Kiss"), West ("Good Life") and Flo Rida ("Low"), while he was also nominated twice in the video of the year category.
"T-Pain is everywhere," BET Executive Vice President Stephen Hill told The Associated Press. "He's got five nominations, none of them for his own work."
"He's had a great year; he's introduced a new element," Hill said, referring to T-Pain's vocoder-assisted vocals that have been replicated by other artists such as Snoop Dogg.
While the nominees include many hitmakers, Hill said the awards also celebrate those who aren't yet in the mainstream, such as R&B singers Estelle and Raheeem DeVaughn, who each received a nomination.
"Our voting panel picked not just the hits but folks who are really talented who are just now getting a shot," he said.
The BET Awards will be presented June 24 in Los Angeles.
Al Green will be honored with a lifetime achievement award. Quincy Jones will receive an award for his humanitarian work.
"Besides being the best black awards show that we have, also being one of the best awards show period, their ratings are through the roof," said Nelly, who is set to perform at the live awards show. "They're tuning in — black, white, Japanese, Chinese — you got it, they're tuning in, which says a lot."
Nelly and Usher were among those expected to announce the nominations on BET's "106 & Park" later Thursday. Usher is also set to perform on the live June broadcast, as well as Lil Wayne, Blige and Mariah Carey.