Almost exactly a year ago, J. Cole released the album “2014 Forest Hills Drive” – titled after the rapper’s childhood address from when he was growing up in Fayetteville. That gives a little extra North Carolina flavor to this year’s Grammy nominations, announced Monday morning, with “2014 Forest Hills Drive” among the nominees for best rap album.
The rap-album category is one of three nominations that Cole picked up to lead the state’s Grammy contingent. Cole is also nominated in R&B performance, for “Planes” with singer Jeremih; and in rap performance for “Apparently,” one of four singles released from “2014 Forest Hills Drive.”
Overall, Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar leads the field with 11 nominations, including the prestigious album-of-the-year category for “To Pimp a Butterfly.” 9th Wonder (Patrick Douthit), an alumnus of local hip-hop group Little Brother, shares in that nomination as one of the album’s five credited engineers/mixers.
Though not directly nominated herself, Wilson native Rapsody (Marianna Evans) also appears on the “Butterfly” song “Complexion (A Zulu Love),” contributing a cameo verse.
Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founder Rhiannon Giddens is up for best folk album with “Tomorrow Is My Turn,” her first solo album (produced by Americana auteur T Bone Burnett). Giddens previously won a traditional-folk-album Grammy with the Chocolate Drops for their 2010 album “Genuine Negro Jig.”
James Taylor, who spent his long-ago formative years in Chapel Hill, is up for best pop album with “Before This World.” That album is also nominated in one of the technical categories, best-engineered non-classical release.
Mountain Home Music Company, an Arden-based label, is nominated in the category of best bluegrass album. That’s for Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver’s “In Session.”
Also, Durham-based Merge Records is nominated in the dance/electronic album category with “Our Love,” by the Canadian one-man-band Caribou. Merge previously won album of the year with Arcade Fire in 2011.