I have some personal info on this exact issue from a good friend I trust that works with their label/is good friends with the members. Take it as you wish, but I can't help but share because it would be great if someone else confirmed it.
basically my friend told me that they were coerced into making a "last" album (this was before it was formally announced by them fyi), to pay off a group of club-bouncer thugs that follow them to all their events and threaten them for payment--I'll explain below.
When wu-tang was getting popular and played at inner city clubs, the manager would pick out 5-10 of the meanest looking guys in the crowd and tell them to essentially act as bouncers in the venue if things too got out of control. He couldn't pay then, but these guys would do this at every venue and over time, bonded over this newfound relationship with wu-tang clan. They got wu-tang tattoos on their arms and felt proud of the affiliation (almost to the tune of resembling a gang). Once wu-tang started playing gigs at bigger, mainstream venues these bouncer men were no longer needed.
These wu-tang tatoo'd bouncers felt wronged, and attributes wu-tang's success now with the protection they provided at dangerous inner-city clubs. They felt like they were employees in a sense and demanded a percentage of all the revenue the group was now making. They threaten the group and manager frequently and my friend said, wu-tang desperately needed to pay them off because they are all older now and fear for the safety of their families.
This album was then announced publicly and I can't help but put two and two together. Was this album created to get a quick sum of money to pay off the club bouncers once and for all? I can't stop thinking about it now.
I promise I'm not making this up, just wondering if anyone can confirm any of these assertions that are knowledgeable with wu-tang/hip hop.
I used to work club security for 6 years and have done at least 12 wu tang or wu affiliate shows. I've also done radio interviews with several of them when I was a DJ in the late 90s. I never saw anything that would be considered intimidation in this manner at any of their shows. The closest problem I can remember is some random guy in the crowd picking a fight with UGod while he was walking from the stage. But this happened with a lot of artist. Not saying a story like this isn't true but it sounds highly unlikely.
"Quick" doesn't seem to apply to how long this has reportedly been in the works, how long the pre-sale tour involving "performances" at various museums will take, etc.
From what I've seen over the years, Wu-Tang has a propensity for such self-aggrandizement (and I mean that as a complement). I can certainly see them doing this project without ulterior fear-driven motivation.
Not saying your version isn't true, but applying Occam's Razor from my humble perspective. RZA having an epiphany of "hey, let's do a full blown album and sell one copy!" seems entirely fitting.
I think you got Wu tang mixed up with another group. Wu tang started getting popular in the 1990s. They have gone international since then, and their individual members have had very successful solo careers. What inner city club do they need protection from? Are you talking about the legendary hip-hop group Wu Tang because I think or your friend is mistaken?