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Friday, June 20, 2014

Precious - Soft But Hard (1990)

In case you haven't guessed, I'm a huge fan of female rappers.  And it just so happens that someone requested the only album by Precious, so here it is.  As with many of the other 90s female rappers featured on the Isle, little is available on Precious' history.  Her real name is Monica Burton, and it would appear that she's from New Jersey.  At some point she connected in New Jersey with the trio of producers collectively known as Backroom Productions, who wrote and produced most of Isle postee Jomanda's music.  In 1988 Backroom Productions had released a compilation of house tracks that included vocals by the ladies of Jomanda before they were a group, as well as the instrumental song "The Definition Of A Track (The Backroom)".  Evidently, they asked Precious to put a rap vocal on the instrumental, making it a hip-house track, and also made a new instrumental using the same rap and called it "In Motion", which is one of my fave house songs of all time, incidentally.  The double A-side of Precious' "Definition Of A Track / In Motion" was released on Big Beat in 1989 and was a dancefloor smash (the album version begins with "Definition Of A Track" and leads into "In Motion").  It's success led to a one album deal on Big Beat.  Backroom Productions produced the whole thing, and the hip-house song "Let's Get It Started" was the only other single released, backed with "Competition" (which samples M's "Pop Muzik") in the US, and released by itself on MCA Records in the UK.  The album contained a much more traditional rap sound, with only a few hip-house moments, which was perhaps not the best idea.  (For a brief interview with Precious discussing her music, watch this short 1989 documentary on Chicago Hip House.) "Let's Get It Started" failed to make the same impact, and that was the last that was heard from Precious.  Monica, now known as Dr. Burton, appears to have left her music career behind, as she is now a principle at the Patrick F. Healy Middle School in East Orange, New Jersey.  She is also on the board of managers for the East Orange YMCA.  Given the comments in reviews of her school and on the video for "In Motion" on Youtube, she doesn't appear to be beloved by her students or their parents, though to be fair, being a principle of any school isn't exactly a beloved role.  And at least we can all show her love by enjoying and appreciating her one and only musical masterpiece.

Video for In Motion

Download Soft But Hard

1 The Beats The Rhyme (The Bassline)
2 Soft But Hard
3 Competition
4 Protect The Jewel
5 27 Hawthorne
6 Lets Get It Started
7 Definition Of A Track (In Motion)
8 Power Of A Woman
9 Spenizm
10 Who Are You
11 Yesterday's Gone
12 Big Beat
13 A Better Way
14 Yesterday's Gone (Sax Version)
15 Big Beat (Vocal)


  1. Eu adoro musica rap de mulher. obrigado vou ouvir aqui em casa

  2. sorry for your loss.i have loved coming here then listening to songs youtube then buying cds on amazon and ebay.