Water and sodium retention precedes the development of high blood pressure (BP) and explains a compensatory rise in B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentrations. It is unclear whether BNP concentrations antedate the BP progression. We hypothesized that higher BNP concentrations in our African American cohort will be associated with longitudinal increases in BP, progression of BP stage, and incident hypertension. Our study sample consisted of 888 normotensive (based on BP at examination 1 [2000-2004]) participants of the Jackson Heart Study (mean age, 47±12 years; 61% women). We examined the relation of BNP concentrations at the baseline examination to change in systolic and diastolic BPs, BP progression (an increase by 1 BP stage as defined by THE sixth report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure) and incident hypertension by examination 2 (2005-2008) adjusting for baseline BP stages, systolic and diastolic BPS, traditional risk factors, and echocardiographic left ventricular mass. Over a median follow-up period of 5.0±0.8 years, 36.9% progressed to a higher BP stage and 19.3% developed hypertension. In multivariable regression models, higher log-BNP concentrations at examination 1 were significantly and positively associated with changes in systolic and diastolic BPs (P<0.05 for both). Baseline log-BNP was significantly associated with BP progression (P=0.046). Every SD increase in baseline log BNP was associated with a 12% increased risk of BP progression. Log-BNP was not significantly associated with incident hypertension (P=0.12). In our community-based sample of African Americans, higher BNP concentrations predicted a longitudinal increase in systolic and diastolic BPs and progression of BP stage.