Sensual R&B comes across easily to Joshua Hatkins, likely as a result of his self proclaimed versatility, being a singer, rapper, writer, and director. As such, he garners influence and interest from the widest and most obscure of places, forming a sound which identifies most with the new wave of “genreless” music. “Love or Desire” opens with a soul sample and Hatkins beckoning to his love interest to promise that they’re here for “love” and not “desire.”
The song addresses its subject in a transparent fashion, having lyrics of longing and sexuality and an instrumental redolent of 90s and 00s R&B/Soul songs which dealt with similar ideas of romance. Interesting considering Joshua dived into music at 16 years old, only lending one to imagine how much music he’s clearly immersed himself in to emulate the feel of the track.
Even more interesting is the way Joshua Hatkins chooses to grapple with the subject matter at hand. While hookup culture remains an aesthetic of both vice and allure, and is continuously sensationalized in contemporary R&B and hip-hop, Joshua rejects the popular appeal and instead invites his partner to deny momentary desire & embrace genuine affection.