Mario is the self-titled debut 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".
Mario toured as an opening act for Bow Wow during his fall tour alongside R.O.C. and Denim in late 2002. He also toured alongside Nick Cannon, AJA, Jhené, Marques Houston and B2K, as a supporting act for the Scream Tour III in 2003.