Lauryn Hill and OutKast have each taught Lecrae a valuable lesson in addition to influencing his rap career: be yourself. While he's a grown man now at 35, there was a time when the southern MC was a rambunctious teen, navigating through life just to find himself. He's found his way and is confident with the guy he looks at in the mirror -- a man who's won a Grammy Award for his 'Gravity' album, is the co-owner of Reach Records and is the father of three children.

His seventh LP, 'Anomaly,' released in September, debuted at the top of the Billboard charts upon its release -- he sold more than 88,000 copies that first week. While many rap fans were scratching their heads with a perplexed look of "Who's this guy?," his loyal fan base helped get him there. Look on Twitter and his tweets reach 927,000 followers while his Facebook fans are climbing past 1.7 million. And let's not forget Instagram, where more than 518,000 people take note of his photos featuring his kids, his love of vinyl toys and memes highlighting the Monday blues. Lecrae's music matters and it reaches across all platforms.

Songs like the abortion-themed 'Good, Bad, Ugly;' 'Dirty Water,' in which he details some harsh historical realities; and the sing-song flow of 'Messengers' were created to transform a listener's thought process, much like Hill's 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' and OutKast's 'Aquemini' did for Lecrae.

"I think listeners like to be challenged from time to time," the Atlanta native tells The Boombox. "I mean it's obvious when you walk outside and you look at skyscrapers or you look at buildings, or culture or society, like humanity is not ignorant, just stupid people, you know. We're creative, we are innovative. I think our music should reflect that. I think when people listen to my music it's a reflection of who we are. We're human beings. We're made in God's image. We're creative, purposeful beings and I want my music to reflect that reality."

Crafting a solid body of work with meaning is important to the rapper but he also enjoys flexing his lyrical skills by spitting off the top. Freestyling isn't a daily exercise for Lecrae, however, it keeps him sharp. "I think that brings out the best in me," he reveals, recalling tour bus cyphers with 10 people. "It's entertaining. It's a part of hip-hop. It's a part of the culture. People are mesmerized by it. It's just something I think I always really value and really appreciate."

While fans of 'Rae Sremmurd's 'No Type' or Travis Scott's 'Drugs You Should Try' may not be quick to listen to a Lecrae freestyle, he's OK with that. "I'm comfortable in being different. It's not like I'm trying to fit in. I'm just being me. Sooner or later you're gonna see, he's a little different but he's cool though."

Watch Lecrae speak on his 'Anomaly' album, his influences and the art of freestyling above.

Watch Lecrae Perform 'Dirty Water' for '16 Bars'