A common way for a K-pop group to show a different artistic side is with a splinter group featuring only a few members of the main group. More commonly known as a sub-unit by fans, these groupings can be as small as a duo or as big as four or five members; EXO is the latest act to find chart-topping success with a sub-unit.
EXO-CBX -- consisting of three of the current nine EXO members, Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin -- see their debut EP Hey Mama!: The First Mini Album start at No. 1 on Billboard's World Albums chart. The release moved almost 2,000 copies in the first tracking week since it was released.
Hey Mama is led by its funk-pop title track which sees the guys mix scores of vocal gymnastics among the multiple catchy hooks baked inside the track. The accompanying music video has the trio styled as suave gentleman showing off slick footwork in what's arguably the most mature styling the EXO guys have seen to date. Yet for whatever maturity EXO is exuding, the bubblegum sound, plus the bright colors in the visual, bring the feel-good, youthful vibe for which EXO is known.
To date, EXO and EXO-CBX mark only the third time both the parent and sub-unit K-pop group have topped World Albums. Girls Generation and their splinter trio Girls' Generation-TTS both have two chart-toppers apiece, meanwhile Super Junior and its Chinese-focused unit Super Junior-M both have one chart-topper. Remarkably, EXO, Girls' Generation and Super Junior are all from South Korean super label SM Entertainment.
Elsewhere on the charts, "Hey Mama!" debuts at No. 7 on the World Digital Songs chart making it the fifth most-downloaded K-pop song of the week during a particularly competitive period with many releases. That included CBX's fellow EXO member Lay, who also released his debut, Chinese-language solo EP titled Lose Control, that starts at No. 4 on World Albums, as the record's title track debuts at No. 18 on World Digital Songs.