If you grew up in the early 2000s, chances are that you heard "Just a Friend 2002" so much that you got sick of it. Your reward for surviving the song was that you got to hear its follow-up, "Let Me Love You," also played to death. Mario was a star. The singer turns 29 years old today (Aug. 27).

Mario went from being a young kid from a working class family in Baltimore to a young prodigy signed to Clive Davis' J Records. By the time he was 15, Mario became the braided-hair sweetheart for many with "Just a Friend 2002." The song outperformed the Biz Markie single it was based off of, landing five spots higher on the Billboard charts at No. 4. He quickly proved he wasn't a one-hit wonder with a paean to urban male hair care. "Braid My Hair" became a minor hit, and "Let Me Love You, which dropped two years later, became Mario's first No. 1.

The singer was part of the wave of young black singers that included B5, B2K, Marques Houston and Chris Brown. A majority flamed out by 2008, but Mario's career got a quick spark in 2009 with "Break Up." The hit was big enough to get a remix featuring Lil Wayne and Gudda Gudda. But Mario's fourth album, D.N.A., wasn't received as warmly as his previous projects. Now, he's looking for another revival with his upcoming album, Never Too Late.

Watch Mario's "Let Me Love You" Video

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