Katy Perry followed close behind, with four nominations.
All three artists are up for the top honor Video of the Year -- Perry for "Wide Awake," Rihanna for "We Found Love," and Drake and Rihanna for "Take Care." They will compete with Gotye for "Somebody That I Used to Know" and M.I.A. for "Bad Girls" in the category.
The nominees for Best New Artist are Fun featuring Janelle Monae for "We Are Young," Carly Rae Jepsen for "Call Me Maybe," Frank Ocean for "Swim Good," One Direction for "What Makes You Beautiful" and The Wanted for "Glad You Came."
The VMAs show will air Sept. 6 on MTV.