I came to Gil Scott-Heron via Amriri Baraka. As a young poet in the late 80s in Chicago, I loved the visciousness that Baraka could bring to beauty. Knocking around the UIC Main Library, I found The Vulture and it blew my mind.
The last two tracks of Kanye's record brought Gil Scott-Heron back to me. Whatever Kanye wanted that song to mean, to me it's all about trying to be an artist in the middle of that which is not artful. Solitary, earnest, lasting attempts to make something worthwhile. It's about the optimistic idea that in spite of all of the lights, and the lack of milk & honey, we just might survive in America, with just a few people in a bare room clapping at the end of a poem.
God bless, and all hail, Gil Scott-Heron.