Kasi Royalty (Teka Music)
House music’s hold on South Africa’s music remained firmly intact in 2018, present in the gqom floorfillers of Distruction Boyz and the polyrhythmic dance-pop of Heavy-K, to name but a few. As such, no one ought be surprised that the Johannesburg township duo of vocalist Manteiga and producer Spoek Mathambo largely operate under the same thrall of electronic music’s enduring tradition here. For Kasi Royalty, they bridge retro energy with contemporary vibes for a frequently deep and thoroughly enjoyable clubwise romp. “Deep Ocean Deep” harkens back to CeCe Peniston and Crystal Waters’ respective classics, its title blurring cleverly through Manteiga’s lips. Beyond the gorgeous garage of “Just To Touch” and the Chicagoan thump of “Love At First Sight,” their shared city of influences enlivens things even further, from the Afrobeat jazz of “Babaloo” to the Soweto swagger of “Nika Mapha.” Mathambo’s musical mastery has long been apparent, and Batuk only reinforces his bonafides.