The TRL Pop Quiz works like this: our editors are posed a music-related question and have only 15 minutes and just 100 words to research, choose and explain their answers. This week's quiz: Who is the most important male pop act of the decade?
At this point, I don’t really believe in categorizing artists based on genre (or gender), but I think what Dev Hynes has been doing for the music landscape is truly something special. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I was introduced to him through Solange’s TRUE EP, but it changed my ear forever—discovering Blood Orange is the best thing that ever happened to me. Suthpin Boulevard, Cupid Deluxe and Freetown Sound serve particular purposes for the periods in which they were released, but they are all pieces of contemporary art that will stand the test of time. - Sydney Gore
To me, it’s Frank Ocean. He broke barriers in the R&B/hip hop world by discussing sexuality, has a wide range of touching music--both personal songs and statements about what’s going on in the world--had a surprise album release that shook music industry executives and fans alike, and has a musical sound that blends genres and time periods. On top of all that, he has the Billboard chart stats and he is just so chill as a person! What more do you need? - Landyn Pan
There’s no denying Drake has had an incredible career. From transitioning from a teen actor on Degrassi to solidifying his place in the music industry, he’s proved he can make bangers, he’s savvy enough to become a meme and make it work (hello “Hotline Bling!”), and he’s aware of the issues going on in the world. In his recent “God’s Plan” music video, he gave away a million dollars to people who truly needed it and in “Nice For What” he celebrated strong, diverse women. If that’s what we can expect from Drake’s upcoming album Scorpion, I’m ready to continue the ride! - Kristen Maldonado
When I strictly think about the men who really helped to define the sound and shape of pop in the 2010s, it's really hard to discount Calvin Harris as a key player of the influx of electronic music into the pop sphere. Just observe his resume of hits across the decade, including "Bounce," "Sweet Nothing," "Summer," "This Is What You Came For," and the inescapable "We Found Love." He’s far from the only DJ who had impact around in this timeframe (see: David Guetta, Tiesto, Diplo, Skrillex), but in my gut, he feels at the forefront of it all. - Terron Moore
From “Just the Way You Are,” the lead single from his 2010 album Doo-Wops and Hooligans, to the more recent hits “Finesse” (feat. Cardi B) and “24K Magic” from his 2016 album 24K Magic, Bruno Mars is a hit-making machine. Mark Ronson’s song “Uptown Funk,” on which Mars was featured, was inescapable for a year, and performed at the Grammys AND the Super Bowl. With ten of those golden gramophones to his name and seven number one hits, he's certainly been an influential figure in pop music. - Leah Williams
The decade started with the birth of a new star in rap whose pop overtures have proved to be a lasting influence on the genre and the charts: Drake. The 6 God--initially laughed at for his too-sensitive approach, his unabashed softness, his corniness--has managed to flip every criticism on its head and, even better, co-opt these insults for his own ends. His resilience and subsequent triumph aren't just part of a compelling narrative, either; his fourth album, Views, owned the Billboard charts in 2016, and his latest single, “God’s Plan,” has served as further quantifiable evidence of his enduring appeal, smashing first-day streaming records on both Apple Music and Spotify. - Gus Turner