Correct me if I'm wrong, but the fundamental basis of your argument is as follows: the label/artist should pick singles based upon the "message" of the album (as perceived by you), as opposed to how big of a hit they could be, correct? Kendrick is signed to Interscope. He's getting promoted like mad. A track with a Hit-Boy beat as massive as "Backseat Freestyle," especially given Kendrick's popularity at the moment, is bound to be a smash. I think most knew it would be a single from the moment they first heard it.
You keep saying this song is a parody. Is it? Really?
I almost mentioned "Money Trees" in my original post, as that is most likely going to be the next single after this one. Yes I know it's already a single in the UK; the UK radio market is vastly different from the American one. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if "Backseat Freestyle" doesn't become a single over there. "Money Trees" will certainly make a very good single, but it's more "laid-back" if you will, and isn't nearly as infectious as "Backseat." Not saying it isn't a good cut, just a different type of song. Also just because Drake's on a song doesn't guarantee it's a smash...it just increases the likelihood that it will be one.
I'm definitely not saying labels should solely focus on a song's message and completely disregard a more generically themed song's hit potential. I get that Interscope is running their business and is going by what likely sells best. My claim is that, as Kendrick is breaking out to mainstream success, he/the label should release a song that marries a solid beat with his amazing lyricism and storytelling. Yes, Hit-Boy absolutely killed it on that beat and, again, it's an easy hit. But compare the lyrics of that song to the lyrics from the rest of the album. They're a little overblown, goofy, lighthearted, and at the part of the album where the songs about him at 17-18 years old. It's definitely a side of Kendrick or was a part of him at one point in his life, but, if Section.80
and Good Kid
have been any indication, his legacy will hopefully be as a writer that can supersede typical rap lyric conventions and make hits. I simply think "Backseat Freestyle" isn't the track that sets him apart from other rising rappers...but tracks like "Money Trees" and "Poetic Justice" might.
I just looked it up..."Poetic Justice" charted at No. 78 on Good Kid
's release week without being designated as an upcoming single. If it's the next single in the US (which is looking to be the case), it's almost certain to do well.