J Dilla – born in Detroit as James Dewitt Yancey in 1974 – was a child prodigy musician who became one of the most influential producers in hip-hop history.

Known and revered for his work with A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, the Pharcyde, the Roots, Common and Erykah Badu, among many others, Dilla brought an eminent musicality to hip-hop, born of his love for and deep immersion in a broad range of musical idioms, from soul to jazz.

Dilla passed on in 2006, after a long battle with lupus and the rare blood disease thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Following his death, his mother, Maureen Yancey, established the J Dilla Foundation in his honor.

The foundation works to raise funds for inner-city music programs, and, according to, “provides scholarships to students attending schools that have progressive music curricula.”

Beginning at 10 tonight, Duke’s Bohemian Grove Bar (253 Allen St.) will host “Doin’ Dilla: A Benefit for the J Dilla Foundation.” Emcee and turntablist Billy Drease Williams, aka Edreys, will preside over an evening of Dilla-produced songs featuring various local artists, with intermittent sets of Dilla-related breaks by DJ Cutler.

Admission will be $5 at the door. All proceeds will go to the J Dilla Foundation.

Toronto ‘haute rock’

Toronto’s Young Empires perform at 8 tonight in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.) and with the band comes a new subgenre within modern pop – “haute rock,” a term band member Jacob Palanhuk came up with to describe the band’s sound. “We’re writing tracks that make you feel wealthy, attractive, powerful; a soundtrack to your haute life,” Palanhuk told in 2010. Which, you have to admit, is pretty hilarious.

That said, when you listen to the band’s blend of rock, world beat and electro-dance, you do get a whiff of the gorgeously decadent grandeur of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. Which, if accepted with a chaser of irony, goes down smooth and is fairly delicious.

All of the beautiful people should prepare to convene at 7 p.m. at the Town Ballroom, when the doors will open. Tickets for the all-ages show are $14. Royal Teeth will open.

Gig picks

The sixth annual Big Easy in Buffalo party – presented by Music Is Art and featuring the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Marc Stone Duo featuring Joshua Paxton and the George Caldwell Quintet – brings a little bit of New Orleans to the 716 at 7 tonight in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.). Tickets are $29 (box office, Ticketmaster).

The Other Side of Silence – a new trio comprised of revered Buffalo musicians Roger Eric Cormier, Jim Wynne and Marty Raymondo – makes its debut at 9 tonight in the Hertel Lounge (1669 Hertel Ave.).

The Ifs, with special guest “Japanese Paul McCartney” Tadaaki Naganuma, play at 10 p.m. Saturday in the Pearl Street Brewery (76 Pearl St.).

The 10th annual Cure vs. Smiths Dance Party takes place at 10:30 p.m. Saturday in Soundlab (110 Pearl St.).

Psychedelic dance/jam band the Werks, with guests Slip Madigan and the MKGs, play at 9 p.m. Wednesday in Nietzsche’s (248 Allen St.).

Tickets for the show are $10 in advance, through