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The World of Bruno Mars

by Rachel Devitt

The World of Bruno Mars

About this playlist

Seems impossible that, only a few short years ago, you'd never even heard of Bruno Mars -- unless, of course, you were a connoisseur of performances by pint-sized Elvis impersonators from Hawaii, that is. Now, we can't imagine our pop life without the singer formerly known as Peter Gene Hernandez, whether he's cruising up the charts with hit after hit or helming an entire Super Bowl halftime show, as he is set to do this Sunday. We can't wait to see what the velvet-voiced, sweet-talking, high-drama-serving, "Grenade"-taking, "Gorilla"-loving crooner has up his sleeve for that top-of-your-game gig.

In the meantime, we got to thinking about just how the singer-songwriter did become so completely ensconced in our pop culture consciousness so quickly. Our conclusion? It's all the result of a carefully waged, multipronged attack of good, old-fashioned woo-pitching.

Step 1: Shower us with a dizzying deluge of killer guest shots, starting with some of 2010's best singles (Travie McCoy's "Billionaire," Bad Meets Evil's "Lighters" and, of course, B.o.B.'s "Nothin' On You," which Mars practically owned).

Step 2: Release your own serious-contender solo material in the form of two wildly successful albums, each jam-packed with can't-quit, can't-avoid singles, like "Locked Out of Heaven" from late 2012's great Unorthodox Jukebox.

Oh, and the super-important but sort of secret Step 3? Be a part of a hit-making team that's churned out some of the charts' biggest smashes in recent years. Enter the Smeezingtons, Mars' songwriting/production "side gig" with Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine, and the guys behind everything from Snoop and Wiz's "Young, Wild & Free" to K'naan's "Wavin' Flag" to, of course, CeeLo's "F*ck You."

Well, mission accomplished, if this playlist of Mars' guest shots, solo smashes and hits helmed for others is any indication. The only thing not represented is that aforementioned stint as a kiddie King impersonator. (And that's only because he didn't release any recordings of it. Believe us -- we looked.)

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