I'm finding your argument equally ridiculous.
Who says "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" or "Money Trees" would perform poorer? "Vibe" has a solid hook and "Trees" shortened a bit would do great on rap radio with potential crossover to mainstream/indie markets with that Beach House sample. Hell, he has a great song with Drake on the album...that's a surefire hit single right there. "Backseat" is a good song, but it's safe and not even close to the best song on the record. I know you don't really care about messages or rappers having lyrical depth beyond cars and sex, but there's a reason the album went Gold right as "Swimming Pools" was just peaking. This album's getting universally praised for its lyrics and story, simple as that. People are finding his voice and vulnerability refreshing at this point of commercialized rap. By taking the song that parodies his earliest attempts at imitating other rappers and making it the single, the wrong message is being sent about Kendrick's music and album.
EDIT: "Backseat Freestyle" is only the third single in the UK. "Poetic Justice feat. Drake" is the third single stateside. Placing my bet now that it'll hit Top 10 once a video comes out.
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.