Updated: May 15
We finally got this text effect working again.
This has been the most difficult thing for me since moving to Unity 2019. We have had to move everything to the Universal Render Pipeline, so I found myself trying to figure this out again.
For any of you cool kids trying to recreate this kind of comic book pop out effect, you need to set up a sort layer for the text in order to have it always appear in front of the explosion.
Then you need to make sure that your particle's material is set to "transparent" in the render queue. My understanding is that transparent things are always rendered last in Unity, so if you want something to appear above everything else, it needs to be in that grouping.