Let those who seek my life be ashamed and humiliated! Let them fall back and be disgraced—those people who delight in my downfall! Let those who say, “Aha! Aha!” stop because of their shameful behavior. – Psalm 70:2-3 (CEB)
The temple DJ drops a menacing, boastful beat. The psalmist grabs the mic, lets loose and lets them know: “You say ‘I told you so?’ I’ll tell you this: you cheer my downfall? Bad call. You, cloaked in shame; me praising The Name. Generations will sing and be glad about it. Now crawl back home and stay mad about it.”
Psalms like this show us the enduring, powerful, and empowering potential of a grudge rant set to music. Lyricists from Miriam The Prophet to Megan Thee Stallion know the devastating effect of phrasing and melody, carefully crafting rhyme and rhythm to produce a true labor of loathe.
Yet often within the braggadocio’s banger lies a plea for salvation just beneath the swagger. A lasting shaming of enemies relies on the support from the MC’s crew: “Back me up God; when they diss me, they diss you. Now come through.” The confident refrain: “Despite detractors, I’m still here.” The petition in verse: “But so are they; and where are you, God?”
Even when our mouths spit fire while eyes leak water, singing out the tension between victory and despair has a way of inspiring courage and perseverance. Anticipating a time when we can sing with our whole heart, we’re already writing the remix with bars of gratitude and praise. Transforming from defensive grievance to an anthem of overcoming, the personal diss track becomes a communal rallying cry.
Salvation flows. Stay glad about it. Amen.