A High-Pass Filter is used to allow all frequencies above a cut-off frequency to pass through, removing all other frequencies in the process. It can also be known as a low-cut filter and compliments the low-pass filter.
Using a high-pass filter in music genres such as hip-hop can be useful, in the sense that the basslines and kick drum are the parts that bring this style of music to life. Using high-pass filters on the other instruments would stop them from interfering with the lower bass frequencies.
You will find that a lot of synthesized music will tend to be complex and rich in harmonics, meaning that each synth sound will have low underlying frequencies which are then followed by a succession of similar frequencies (harmonics), giving the sound a natural and full quality.
In basic terms, high-pass filters take the underlying frequencies away and leave only the harmonics, often giving the sound an unnatural feel to it. This might be exactly the type of sound that you are after, but its good to know that it can also quickly take the life out of music as well.
As with most things, you will find that less is usually more and this can also be said for filtering. The more you start to filter out frequencies, the more unnatural your sound will become. If you think about the fact that sounds are constantly moving, the more you filter, the less it will move.
If your sounds and instruments are being restricted and are unable to move as freely, this will result in a boring and lifeless sound, something that any musician should not really be wanting to produce and be associated with!
However, as mentioned, there are times when using the high-pass filter is required, for instance, keeping your basslines pure and kick drums strong by filtering out any interfering low frequencies from other accompanying instruments in your mix. It’s a useful tool if used correctly.