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Black Music Month 2014: June 23 musical salute to Questionmark Asylum

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It's Black Music Month. Enjoy the 2014 series. Support the artists. Buy their licensed music. And turn up as you dance along.

Brief history: In 2010, I wrote a music series honoring Black Music Month on Associated Content's site (republished on Examiner). The focus was to honor new R&B singers, veteran R&B singers, solo rappers, and evenly split the musical salute between female and male rappers. The only artists I was not willing to split up were Salt n' Pepa because they worked as a unit. In 2014, it's about time to salute more artists, but in the spirit of Salt n' Pepa's legacy, R&B groups and rap groups will be included. The pattern in 2014 will be newer R&B singers (from 2000 to present), R&B and/or hip-hop groups, veteran R&B singers, and then solo rappers, still evenly split between women and men.

Black Music Month Turn Up Factor "Turn down for what?": This was a one-hit wonder group that I really wish would've stayed around. Questionmark Asylum would do party songs, dance songs, funny songs and serious songs, and they had a nice combination of lyricism and stellar beats. How many hip-hop groups do you know of who rap about domestic violence and one-night stands on the same CD? Why they broke up is anybody's guess. Maybe the money wasn't rolling in. Maybe the group clashed. But their 1995 album was well worth a stamp of approval no matter what the circumstances were.

My Connection/First Memory to Artist: You may be saying "Who are these people?," but these guys were my favorite hip-hop group growing up. Of course I liked some of the more popular groups in the '80s and '90s, but when they performed on BET's "Teen Summit," I was hooked. I could listen to "Hey Look Away" on repeat all day in 2014 so when "The Album" released the year I graduated from elementary school (1995) I was really listening to it heavily. A few of my more picky hip-hop friends insisted that this group copied off of Pharcyde. And yes, I liked "Drop," "Runnin'" and "Passin' Me By," but I liked the entire album from Questionmark Asylum. And I didn't mind looking at Rosta Swan, Mistafiss and Digge Doms either.

Numbers Don't Lie: Two of their songs made it to the Billboard Top 100 but never made it to the top 50. "Hey Look Away" came close at number 56 and stayed on the Hot R&B and Hip-Hop songs charts for 14 weeks.

For the first series of Black Music Month artists republished on Examiner (originally on Associated Content), click here to see all 30.

Shamontiel is also The Wire Examiner, and for the gladiators, she's the Scandal Examiner, too.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest TV, book, music and movie reviews; photo galleries; entertainment saving tips and other entries, or subscribe to her National African American Entertainment channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her @BlackHealthNews, and follow this Pinterest board to read her celebrityinterviews.

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