Jay Z leads Grammy nominations at concert hosted by LL Cool J

Trailing closely behind the hip-hop superstar are Justin Timberlake, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pharrell Williams, and Kendrick Lamar

The nominees for the 56th Annual Grammy awards have been announced at a live concert hosted by US rapper LL Cool J.

Jay Z picked up nine nominations for the upcoming 2014 awards, more than any other act, in categories including: Best Music Video for "Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film"; Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for" Part II (On the Run)" featuring Beyoncé," to whom he is married.

Trailing close behind are Justin Timberlake, rapper and rapper/producer duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, hip-hop megastar Pharrell Williams, and comparative rap newcomer Kendrick Lamar, who each scooped seven nominations.

The American awards show also gave British musicians a nod by including Mercury Prize winning James Blake and folk-pop singer Ed Sheeran on the Best New Artist list, with Scottish dance DJ Calvin Harris’ track “Sweet Nothing” featuring Florence Welch nominated for Best Dance Recording.

Vintage rockers Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, and Black Sabbath have been put against their younger counterparts Muse for the Best Rock Song prize.

The announcement show featured performances from country singing star Taylor Swift, who is up against Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Kendrick Lamar for the most sought after accolade of the night: Album of the Year.

Rivals for the Song of the Year award Katy Perry, and New Zealand teen singer Lorde also performed.

Last year’s awards saw Mumford & Sons pick up the Best Album gong for their second album Babel, while Gotye took Record of the Year for "Somebody that I Used to Know". 

The awards have received criticism in the past

Those waiting with bated breath will have to wait until 26 January 2014 for the LA awards ceremony to find out who the winners are.

Visit the Grammys' website for a full list of nominees

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