Mario's appearances on Dancing With The Stars and in silver-screen cornballs like Step Up may lead you believe he's just another generic singer-turned-actor. But D.N.A., his fourth studio album, proves otherwise. Grown-up, seductive and a little bit explicit (when it needs to be), it's a small triumph for guys trying to get in touch with their emotions through the medium of R&B.
Mario is at his best when he's edgy, like on the breakup anthem Get Out. Call it passion, or maybe anger, it separates him from his silk-voiced ilk, though he steps on a few land mine clichés in the process. There's also no shortage of club bangers. The Bangladesh-produced Break Up, with Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett, lends the album street cred, while the slap-bass-
infused Starlight is sure to burn up dance floors.
Top track: Starlight