J. Paul Jr. and his band, the Zydeco Nubreedz, started to make their mark on the music scene not long after frontman Paul pulled the band together in his native Houston in 1995. Three years later, he and the Nubreedz were named Best Newcomer of the Year and took home the Clifton Chenier Music Award. Sources differ over the zydeco leader's real name, with some claiming it is Paul Lawrence Grant II, and other saying it is John Lawrence Grant II. He grew up outside of Houston in the town of Conroe, the son of Bishop Paul Grant Sr. The elder Grant ran a recording studio that catered to gospel artists. When it was time for his son to put out Taking Over, his debut CD, the bishop helped with production duties, as he did on two more CDs by his son, Use Me Up and Another Level. The latter album helped Paul and the Nubreedz to win the Clifton Chenier Music Award, and it also helped win the title of Best Rubboard Player for the Nubreedz' "John John" Robinson. As word spread, Paul and his band went on to play the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Paul started to sing in his father's church when he turned five years old, and during this period he also took up the drums. His ability as a drummer led to his first job when he was 21, when he became a professional musician in a zydeco outfit led by Step Rideau, playing stages in Louisiana and Texas for the next several years. During this time, Paul also took up the accordion. In addition, he also plays guitar and bass. Paul's first recording, which was self-produced, caught the ear of Mike Lachney, a producer, and Lachney became involved in the production work for the Maison de Soul Records release Taking Over.