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Last Updated: Monday, 9 June, 2003, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
50 Cent leads Billboard shortlist
50 Cent
50 Cent survived has emerged as one of the stars of 2003
Rapper 50 Cent leads the nominations for Billboard's annual R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, to be held in August.

The rap star, who is a protege of Eminem, is nominated in 10 categories, including top album, top single and top artist.

50 Cent, who recently had a UK top ten hit with his song Da Club, is a huge star in the US.

Rap star Nelly is also a strong contender, having been nominated in eight categories. He is also nominated for top album for his hit album Nellyville.

"This is really a blessing," Nelly said. "It's hard to believe that we are still receiving nominations for this album."

Another of 50 Cent's rivals in the top album category is R Kelly for his recent album Chocolate Factory.

"I am honoured and appreciate my fans who have always supported me and my music," Kelly says.

Eminem is in the running for five awards, and the late soul star Aaliyah is nominated for four.

Record sales

50 Cent is currently at number one in the US singles charts with 21 Questions, which features rapper Nate Dogg.

He has sold more than 4.8 million copies of the album Get Rich or Die Trying. It sold more than 870,000 copies in its first week of release, a record so far this year.

His follow-up CD/DVD The New Breed also debuted at number one in the US album charts, and has sold more than 460,000 copies so far.

The rapper, who has been frank about his troubled past, survived being shot nine times in 2000.

He was chosen as the musician most likely to be star in 2003 in a BBC News Online poll published in December.

The Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards are made up of 17 categories.

This year they will be held in Miami's Jackie Gleason Theatre on 8 August.

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