Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole Among the 2014 BET Awards Nominees

Music Matters artists emerge as top contenders at this year's main event.

It’s that time of the year again. The 2014 BET Awards are right around the corner.

BET announced the nominees for the annual award show Wednesday (May 14), and a handful of BET Music Matters artists, including Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, K. Michelle and Mack Wilds, have made their way from artists on the rise to undeniable stars.

Since the last time Kendrick Lamar was invited, he shook up hip hop with his verse on "Control," took home five BET Hip Hop Awards, got the cover of GQ's Men of the Year issue (he was named Rapper of the Year) and earned seven Grammy nods.

He's up for Best Male Hip Hop Artist, a trophy he received at the 2013 BET Awards, the night he also won Best New Artist and Best Collaboration.

J. Cole, also up for Best Male Hip Hop Artist, will present some stiff competition for K. Dot and the other nominees (Drake, Jay Z, Future). Cole was nominated in 2011 and 2012, but has yet to win the honor. Last year, however, his second album, Born Sinner, was certified gold, and earlier this year he announced a new label deal with Interscope for his Dreamville Records.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, who won Best Group in 2013, are trying to become repeat winners, as well.

Among first-time nominees, K. Michelle enters the category for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist against BET Awards vets such as Beyoncé and RihannaAngel Haze gets a nod for Best Female Hip Hip Artist; and Mack Wilds and ScHoolboy Q received their first nods, both in the Best New Artist category.

Check out the 2014 BET Awards, airing live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, on Sunday, June 29 at 8 p.m. ET.

Get ready for the BET Experience, featuring Mary J. BligeMaxwellJill ScottA$AP RockyRick Ross and many more. Click here for more details and info on how to purchase tickets. is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

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(Photos from left: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Clear Channel, Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Free The Children)

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