With virtually every artist daring to raise their head in the fearsome world of British hip-hop either heralded by the U.K.'s journalists as a new messiah or battered into obscurity, Lewis Parker must've felt somewhat awkward when first snapped up by Massive Attack's much-lauded subsidiary in 1997 on the back of only a handful of singles. So uncomfortable, in fact, that despite his Masquerades & Silhouettes debut shifting respectable units at the time, Parker disappeared into the shadows for close to four years. His sophomore album, however, proves this time was spent in training, honing both his production and lyrical skills to a level that should dispense of any ne'er-do-wells. The diverse selection of skits and full tracks is nothing short of formidable, with well-built loops flicking in and out of orchestral rises and shimmering B-movie atmospherics, as diverse and well-delivered verbals touch upon everything from the claustrophobia of studio life to science fiction-flecked philosophizing. Initially light and airy, It's All Happening Now moves through increasingly deviant neighborhoods of a Morricone-influenced cityscape, with the morose flutes of the closing "No Escape" eventually bringing the album full circle -- an accomplished dawn-to-dusk vision of urban living.
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AllMusic Review by Kingsley Marshall