Knucks leads the way at the Mobo Awards with five nominations, while Mercury Prize winner Little Simz is close behind with four.
The annual event, which celebrates music of black origin, will mark its 25th anniversary later in November with a special ceremony at the OVO Arena Wembley.
London rapper and producer Knucks, whose music combines rap and jazz, secured nods in categories including album of the year for Alpha Place, best male act and best hip hop act.
A year after winning the Mobo for best female act, Little Simz scooped four nominations, including album of the year for Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, her critically acclaimed fourth record.
That work won her the Mercury Prize in October, with judges hailing it as “accomplished and complex yet entirely accessible”.
Chart-topping west London drill rapper Central Cee also received four nominations, including best drill act.
The 24-year old won the Mobo for best newcomer and the inaugural drill award last year.
The nominations also saw rapper Ivorian Doll become the first female artist to be nominated in the drill category.
Other nominees include Dave, D-Block Europe, Digga D, Mahalia, Ms Banks and PinkPantheress.
This year organisers have introduced two new categories – best alternative music act, recognising those working in indie, rock and punk, and best dance/electronic act, celebrating genres such as jungle, drum and bass, house and techno.
Mobo founder Kanya King said: “Today’s announcement truly shows what a bumper year it has been for the scene.
“It’s a proud moment to see Mobo once again recognise and honour the luminaries and tip the stars of the future.
“This is what it means when we say ‘honouring the past, inspiring the future’.”
King added that they are “proud to announce the addition of two new categories to recognise the breadth of black culture’s impact on a variety of music genres and welcome more rising stars, ahead of what will be a truly unmissable celebration of our 25 years”.
The inaugural Mobo Awards took place in 1996 at London’s Grand Connaught Rooms, and the trophies have become much sought-after among those in music.
The hosts and performers for the awards ceremony on November 30 are yet to be announced.