Tribe Called Quest: 'Wave of Grief' Over Phife Dawg Led to Cancelled Shows

In open letter, group says they missed schedule Outside Lands show because they were overwhelmed by "huge void of Phife's absence"

A Tribe Called Quest issued an apologetic open letter after failing to show up for a scheduled performance at the Outside Lands festival. Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images

After cancelling a scheduled performance at Outside Lands Festival last weekend, A Tribe Called Quest published a contrite letter in The Los Angeles Times apologizing for their no-show. The hip-hop group said they were unable to make their set on Friday because they were struggling with "a wave of grief" related to the death of longtime member Phife Dawg, who died last year at age 45

The night before they were due at Outside Lands in San Francisco – a special show, as Phife Dawg lived in the Bay Area for several years – A Tribe Called Quest performed at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver. "You would think that with every performance we heal a little more and the sadness is easier to handle," the group explained in their letter. "Sometimes that is the case and sometimes the grief and loss is compounded. Although the house was filled with love and we felt it all, we also felt the huge void of Phife's absence. We walked off that stage deep in grief."

The group's letter continued, "Sometimes … when you have lost someone close, you are riddled with the notion that there is no going on. That Friday morning upon traveling to San Francisco, a wave of grief was still on us." As a result, A Tribe Called Quest cancelled their Friday evening set, which was rescheduled for Saturday night. But they did not end up performing Saturday either because "everything did not come together before the closing curfew."

The group assured fans that "we will correct this and regain your confidence." "We are not making excuses for our absence," they added. "We just wanted you to know that we are still grieving and yet we want to honor each and every one of you for 28 years of music love."

A Tribe Called Quest released a new LP, We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service, last November, roughly eight months after the death of Phife Dawg. The album debuted at Number One on the Billboard Albums chart. "This is our last record, and we'll probably do a world tour," Q-Tip said following the LP's release. "After that, that's it, for the rest of our lives."  

Read the full open letter at the Los Angeles Times.