Mario is the self-titleddebut album by American singerMario, released on March 19, 2002, when he was 15 years old. It features hits "Just a Friend 2002", "Braid My Hair" and "C'Mon". The album sold over 96,000 copies in the first week and was eventually certified Gold, selling over 596,000 copies. In 2006 a single called "Just a Friend [Old School Version]" was released in Japan.
Dan LeRoy from AllMusic states the album "offers doses of the real thing; its combination of Nickelodeon-style charm and authentic substance are reminiscent of nothing so much as a young Michael Jackson, with none of the creepy subtext. While it misses out on the humor of the original, the cover of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" proves a shrewd update of the unwillingly platonic classic, and serves as a gateway to better originals, including a few slow numbers most teens have neither the chutzpah to try or the chops to handle. "Chick Wit' da Braids" and the swirling, organ-laced "Never" lead that pack, and the second song about cornrows, "Braid My Hair," manages to evoke the downside of being a child star without sounding like an ungrateful punk. Naturally, you have to excuse a certain amount of filler to believe fully in Mario's potential, but most of these 11 tracks offer generous hints of it".