Los Angeles area law enforcement officials are uncomfortable with some of the gangbanger sentiments expressed by N.W.A, but don't view the rap group as a threat.
"It's not very welcome," said Lt. Joe Flores, adjutant to the Compton chief of police. "But it's a fad and I don't think it's going to have an adverse effect on the community. . . ."
Representatives of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department familiar with the Compton and South-Central Los Angeles gang situation also saw little reason for concern.
"If you're attributing rap music to escalating gang activity, I haven't seen it," said Lt. Art Herrera of the Sheriff's Department gang unit.
However, Leon Watkins, head of a private agency that works with parents of youths involved with drugs and gangs, believes the music is exploitative of a volatile situation and that "nothing good" can come from it.
"I don't condone that kind of thing," said Watkins, former regional director of the Los Angeles County Probation Department's youth gang services office and now head of his own South-Central Los Angeles Family Hotline. "The minds of our young people are too impressionable for groups to be coming out with stuff like that."
Watkins noted that he has been active in bringing such rap acts as Run-D.M.C. together with L.A. gang representatives to serve as positive role models. "Most of the rap groups I deal with are positive, anti-gang and anti-drugs. But N.W.A sounds like it's using the record industry to glamorize crime, and that's a hindrance. . . ."
Still, Watkins accepts N.W.A's contention that it is just reporting what happens on the streets of Compton.
"What they're trying to do is sell records, and they're taking a situation that's already prevalent and using that frustration to sell records," Watkins said. "But when you put certain things to people who are already frustrated, that's what I worry about. . . . They've got a volatile situation and they're taking advantage of it."
And Watkins does not think songs such as "---- Tha Police" can serve as the spark to ignite the volatility into something bigger.
"The music won't touch off something violent," he said. "In my experience it's not the music, but something like a shooting that sets things off, and then the music becomes a battle cry later."