Comedian Mike Epps returns as host of BET’s upcoming Hip Hop Awards ’10, to take place in Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center, with an airdate schedule for Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.

Jay Z has the highest number of nominations in the show’s history with 10 across 8 categories, the network announced Wednesday. Young Money’s Drake follows behind with eight nominations, and Rick Ross and Nicki Minaj tie with seven nominations each.

For the complete list of categories and nominees, visit www.bet.com/hiphopawards.

Viewers can also visit the website to vote on the Verizon People’s Champ Award, which will be presented during the telecast.

Also, DefJam Rapstar presents “BET.com Hot 16,” a competition that allows aspiring rappers to upload their rhymes (16 bars) to a beat provided by producers Cool & Dre for a chance to win an all expense paid trip to the awards ceremony. For official contest rules and deadlines please visit www.bet.com/hiphopawards

Tickets for the BET Hip Hop Awards ’10 are by invite only and not available for purchase.